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Programs for men who have sex with men

Hep Team Chicago
Program name: Hep Team Chicago
Population served: Men who have sex with men (MSM)
Eligibility: MSM in Chicago area
Region served: Chicago, IL
Funding: GlaxoSmithKline
Program started: A special program for summer 2005
Number of clients:  
Contact: Phone: 800-243-2437
Email: inquiries@hepteamchicago.com
Website: www.hepteamchicago.com
IAC is not responsible for content found on other websites.
On June 7, 2005, the Chicago Department of Public Health, the Howard Brown Health Center, and the Center on Halsted launched a citywide summer campaign to raise awareness about viral hepatitis and offer hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccines to at-risk groups, primarily men who have sex with men (MSM), throughout Chicago.

The advertising and vaccination campaign, called Hep Team Chicago, consisted of brochures, public service advertisements, posters, palmcards, transit ads, a website, and appearances at various events, such as the Gay Pride Parade, Windy City Pride, and Northalsted Market Days. Additionally, the Hep Team participated in the Gay Pride Parade wearing distinctive Hep Team Chicago apparel and also visited bars, clubs, beaches, and other community venues during the course of the campaign.

Hep Team Chicago, in partnership with agencies throughout Chicago including the Chicago Department of Public Health, Howard Brown Health Center, and the Center on Halsted promoted hepatitis vaccination throughout the summer. The campaign aimed to raise awareness that

  • MSM are at increased risk for contracting hepatitis A and hepatitis B.
  • Hepatitis A and hepatitis B are serious (and potentially fatal) infections.
  • Hepatitis A and hepatitis B are preventable through vaccination.

According to an online survey conducted in the Chicago area on www.gay.com in May 2005, among MSM, fewer than half of the survey respondents (48.3%) had received any doses of a vaccine against hepatitis A and hepatitis B and only 47% had discussed vaccination with their healthcare provider. The survey results also showed that the 49.1% of the respondents had no plans to be vaccinated in the future. Also troubling was that close to 80% of the respondents had received no information about hepatitis or hepatitis vaccinations over the past six months. These preliminary results underscored the need for this information outreach campaign.

Hep Team Chicago recommended that men who have health insurance go to a private provider for vaccination, as vaccination is covered by many insurance plans. For men who do not have health insurance or a regular provider, the Hep Team website (www.hepteamchicago.com) lists clinics and providers around Chicago who stock the hepatitis vaccines. Clinic and provider information is also available at 800-243-2437.

The Chicago Department of Health offered free vaccinations on-site at Montrose Beach following the Gay Pride Parade on Sunday, June 26, 2005; during Windy City Pride at the Southside YMCA on Sunday, July 3, 2005; and at Northhalsted Market Days on Saturday, August 6, 2005, and Sunday, August 7, 2005. "For those who don't have insurance coverage or a regular provider, we're offering on-site vaccination at the biggest community events this summer which underscores CDPH's commitment that all MSM should be vaccinated", said Dr. Will Wong, Medical Director, STD/HIV Program, CDPH.

Hep Team Chicago Update (as of October 10, 2005):

  • 685 doses of combination vaccine administered by the Chicago Department of Public Health at large-scale community events during the program.
  • All providers queried (public health, community clinics and private doctors) have reported increased patient demand for HAV/HBV vaccination (in a market which had been trending downwards).
  • Comparison of online surveys of MSM in Chicago conducted before the launch of the program (June, 2005) and at the completion of the program (September, 2005) shows:
    • The percentage of respondents who said they had received any information about hepatitis or hepatitis vaccination in the previous six months went from 15.7% to 30.5%.
    • The percentage that could correctly identify the term "Vaccine-Preventable Hepatitis" (used in all campaign materials) went from 20.6% to 39.6%.
    • Percentage of patients who had discussed vaccination with their healthcare provider in the past six months went from 17.5% to 25.9%.
    • The percentage who had received a vaccination within the prior six months went from 2.7% to 4.0%.
    • The great majority (67.5%) had received their most recent dose of vaccine at a private provider's office.

          Hepatitis Prevention Programs

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