The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way I do my job here at the Center. It’s been really dope to see how everyone is so strong mentally and has been quick to adapt to the situation.
As a staff member assigned to the Sexual Health and Education Program, a major part of the job is outreach. I provide health education at events like resource fairs and concerts where we set up tables and give out condoms, lube, and fentanyl testing strips along with informational materials and Center swag.
Now, due to social distancing, everything has been canceled. But we quickly realized everyone was running to social media looking for information about sex in the era of COVID-19. So, we’ve been doing a lot more social media outreach via Instagram and the dating and hook-up apps. We continue to spread the word about PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) and PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) and about safer sex during the pandemic such as webcam sex and phone sex—where you don’t have to be close to each other.
I’ve also been spending time helping to screen Center staff and clients for COVID-19 symptoms as they enter our McDonald/Wright Building to access the health clinic or pharmacy. The majority of our clients have expressed gratitude for the screenings and for the services we are providing. They thank us for showing up to work! To have that love and care from our fellow humans is dope.
Eight years ago, I never imagined working at the Center. I was working at Barnes & Noble when my aunt, who works in facilities at the Center, told me about how much she loved working there. I applied and was hired as a security officer when I was 18. I’ve been in love ever since. I fit in perfectly here. It has broadened my knowledge and education about my community. As a gay man, I’ve been able to see the things that people face.
Last year, there was a vacant position in Health Education. I love interacting with people and thought I might have the personality for it. I didn’t want to let the opportunity pass me by. I’m so glad I didn’t.
Hometown: Watts, CA
Year Started At The Center: 2012
Staff Position: Health Education Specialist