For the fourth year, Atlanta Pride attendees can learn about health issues ranging from HIV to hepatitis, breast exams to donor insemination, in one convenient location in Piedmont Park.
The Community Health Expo spans 27 booth spaces in the Blue Section of the Atlanta Pride marketplace, with some organizations taking multiple booths to offer services including private, on-site HIV testing.
“It really heightens visibility for these organizations and draws greater attention to overall community health and wellness. Being together also provides these groups with the opportunity to work together over the weekend,” said Pride Executive Director James Sheffield.
“If one agency is approached by someone needing services outside their scope of operation, hopefully they will be able to simply direct that individual to an organization right next door,” he said.
Community health organizations have also benefited from lower costs associated with taking part in the Pride marketplace.
“We have also been fortunate to secure funding for the expo that has allowed us to give the organizations a partial rebate back on their booth fees,” Sheffield said.
“Through the support of Kaiser Permanente over the past two years, we have refunded about $4,000 to the participating nonprofits. We are hoping to give back another $2,000 this year.”
The Atlanta Lesbian Health Initiative has participated in every Community Health Expo at Pride.
“It’s a great time to reach out and build partnerships — and it is always encouraging to see the number of health-related venders grow,” said Linda Ellis, executive director.
But this year will be a bit different for the nonprofit.
Earlier this month, the agency announced that it was changing its name to simply The Health Initiative and broadening its scope to include the entire LGBT community. The full transformation is expected to take until the end of the year, and Pride will be the Health Initiative’s first big event since going public with the change.
A key program that will continue through the transformation is the agency’s Health Fund, which helps un- and under-insured people afford health screenings.
“Our Health Fund always gets a boost at Pride, both in donations and in requests for assistance, and we’ve actually been able to help folks make needed connections with providers through the Health Fair market,” Ellis said.