Sarah Patterson

Sarah Elspeth Patterson is a health educator and the founding organizer of Persist Health Project, a community-based health care organization in New York City. As the first health care provider in New York City run by and for folks involved with and impacted by the sex trade, Persist offers comprehensive health services, while providing trainings to other health care professionals who serve us.


via Flickr user 401 (K) 2012

via Flickr user 401 (K) 2012

Next Monday is the deadline to sign up for health care under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), if you don’t already have insurance you want to stick with. Here in New York City, we at Persist Health Project, a peer-led group that connects sex workers with non-judgmental and affordable health care, have been linking our friends and community members up with ACA “navigators” (grant-funded folks who walk you through the application) from Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, our local LGBTQ service provider, to help them through the process. We’ve also partnered nationally with the Sex Workers Outreach Project Chicago (SWOP) and HOOK Online to offer anonymous, online chats about the ACA to answer questions, get folks signed up and help them get into care that works for them (the final chat before the deadline is this Thursday, March 27th at 10 pm EST).

In the process of chatting with sex workers about the ACA, people have talked about various roadblocks they’ve had, especially around having to report income, which is one of the essential steps in insurance enrollment. As one community member told us, “The first thing they did was ask about my income. I just quit right there. I still don’t have insurance.” Getting insured and finding health care can be a frustrating process for anyone, but it’s particularly trying when you don’t feeling comfortable sharing how you make money, or may not even be certain how much you make in order to report it. Most people in the US have had some kind of trouble signing up on the Healthcare.gov site by themselves, and it’s also a time-consuming process (they estimate it takes about 45 minutes to an hour and half to fill out everything, and that’s with an ACA navigator assisting you). [READ MORE]

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Image via http://www.fwweekly.com/2013/01/04/non-smoking-bars-in-fort-worth/

Image via http://www.fwweekly.com/2013/01/04/non-smoking-bars-in-fort-worth/

Dear Ask A Pro,

I’ve been a smoker for an embarrassingly long time. Let’s say, twenty years? I quit for a year about three years ago, when my city and club banned indoor smoking, but then started dancing in a town where it was allowed, and picked up the habit again. Smoking is really fun and awesome and I like it a lot, but I know it’s awful and that I should quit. Do you have any advice on how I can stop when I’m still working in a smoking club, and how I can convince myself that I really want to? I’d rather spend less money on cosmetic procedures to reverse the damage and lose less time to cigarette breaks at work.

Sincerely,
Pole Smoker

[READ MORE]

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Ask A Pro is a our column focusing on work and health, intended to share straightforward information about what you can do to keep yourself as safe as possible while on the job. Questions will be answered by sexual health expert Sarah Patterson, M.Ed. (See full bio below.) Questions you’d like to have answered can be sent to our info (at) titsandsass address. Full anonymity is guaranteed. 

Dear Ask A Pro,

My question is: what are the best ways to avoid getting sick when working? I find that when I am seeing multiple clients in a night it is emotionally and physically exhausting and I seem to be more susceptible to picking up colds or the flu. I’m sure this is a combination of a lowered immune system from the stress and pace of working mixed with swapping fluids and germs with unknown men.

Thanks,
Juliet

Dear Juliet,

Great question! You are correct in thinking that stress and exposure to infection can increase your chances of getting sick, but there are many things that can be done to deal with both stress and boosting your immune system. [READ MORE]

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Ask A Pro is a our new column focusing on work and health, intended to share straightforward information about what you can do to keep yourself as safe as possible while on the job. Questions will be answered by sexual health expert Sarah Patterson, M.Ed. (See full bio below.) Questions you’d like to have answered can be sent to sarah.elspeth.patterson (at) gmail (dot) com, or to our info (at) titsandsass address. Full anonymity is guaranteed. 

Dear Ask A Pro,

I’ve been escorting for about six months and I usually don’t require that my clients wear condoms during blowjobs. I’m not having symptoms of anything, but I asked my gynecologist if I could do a test for oral STIs to be safe and she said I didn’t need it. She knows I’ve had some unprotected oral sex, but she doesn’t know about my job. I think she was trying to save me money but should I go back and tell her it’s important to me to get it? How at risk am I from giving bareback blowjobs anyway? I’ve heard that spitting isn’t much safer than swallowing but does that make a difference?

Sincerely,

Swab Seeker [READ MORE]

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