For the first time in Mississippi, there's a primary clinic that targets a community that often feels stigmatized when seeking healthcare. MPB's Desare Frazier explains.
TEAM Clinic at the Jackson Medical Mall is the first primary care clinic in the state for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer community. Dr. Alexandria Mullins Delozier is with the University of Mississippi Medical center and works at the clinic.
"We know a lot of people from the LGBTQ community aren't necessarily seeking preventative medicine because they've had experiences where they've been discriminated against," said Delozier.
Delozier says both the patient's medical and mental health needs are treated. Wes McComas of Jackson is a social worker and he's gay. McComas says he went for an HIV test in the 1990's and a nurse said-
"I was going to hell is basically what she told me that day she took my blood for my HIV test," said McComas.
He says in the past he didn't tell doctors he was gay because of how they would react when he did.
The 53-year old says the opening of the primary clinic for the LGBTQ community is life changing.
"It's something I can go to and not have to explain myself. I can be free to be myself. When I go see my doctor even up front I'm greeted in a way there's no shame involved and that's not always been the case living in Mississippi," said McComas.
McComas says he's able to receive therapy and have his medical needs addressed. Delozier says the focus is on making patients feel affirmed.
"The research shows that by affirming people and their identities and by offering a place where everybody can feel safe to come, they're going to have better outcomes," said Delozier.
TEAM clinic is open the first Friday of each month. Delozier says doctors from 12 different specialities are on hand to provide care.