If your child identifies as transgender or gender non-binary or is exploring their gender identity or expression, you can find the answers and support you need at UChicago Medicine. Here, we strive to provide a safe, welcoming environment for your entire family.
Our pediatric endocrinologists (hormone specialists), behavioral health specialists, social workers and sexual health experts are dedicated to delivering gender-affirming care. This may include providing puberty blocking treatment according to current guidelines for pre-teens and adolescents who have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria by a mental health professional.
Our caring team of social workers also can assist with name changes or other social issues that may arise.
Pediatric & Adolescent Care Services
At UChicago Medicine, we offer a variety of services including:
- Puberty blocking therapy
- Gender-affirming hormone therapy
- Sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention and treatment
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevention
- HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)
- HIV post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP)
Adolescent Sexual Health Care
The Care2Prevent (C2P) program at UChicago Medicine provides care for people of all ages (including trans-identified youth) who are living with HIV or who want to stay HIV-negative.
Through Care2Prevent, you can receive free or low-cost HIV/STI testing and basic medical care. We also provide case management services if you are living with HIV, including helping you find educational opportunities, employment and medical insurance.
Behavioral Health Support for Trans-identified Youth
The caring therapists in our Care2Prevent program provide social, emotional and spiritual support to young people on Chicago’s South Side who are diagnosed with HIV or who are at risk for HIV. Many of our clients are young people of color who identify as transgender or non-binary.
Our goal is to provide a space for healing in which you are fully accepted. By working together, we can help you:
- Adjust to a new HIV/STI diagnosis
- Offer support if you are struggling with sexual trauma
- Help you find treatment for substance abuse
- Address family challenges such as acceptance
- Connect you with other trans-friendly organizations on the South Side
We also offer workshops and support groups for families in an affirming space. You may access these services at no cost if you are uninsured or underinsured.
Frequently Asked Questions
Puberty blockers delay unwanted body changes and can give your child or teen more time to explore their gender identity. The best time to start therapy is different for each child, although we want to ensure that young people have the support they need before beginning treatment.
At UChicago Medicine, we follow guidelines from the Pediatric Endocrine Society, the Endocrine Society and the World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH) on using these medications safely and appropriately.
No, the medications used to block puberty only have temporary effects. In other words, they delay puberty so children and teens have more time to explore their identity. If they choose to stop taking medications, their puberty will resume following their assigned sex at birth.
Yes, adolescents may start hormone therapy depending on the patient. We use standards set forth by the Endocrine Society and WPATH. It is important that our growing patients have adequate mental health support and have socially transitioned prior to beginning gender-affirming hormone therapies.
Before beginning this type of treatment, it is also important to understand a young person’s goals, and a child psychologist can help with that process.
Here at UChicago Medicine, we take a holistic approach to providing care that meets our patients’ needs, including their sexual and reproductive health. Research has shown that trans-identified youth are at a higher risk for acquiring HIV and STIs. This risk is even greater in young people of color. Our providers are passionate about offering thorough, confidential prevention and treatment services so that our patients can live their best, healthiest lives.
PrEP is a once-daily pill you can take to prevent HIV if you are HIV-negative and are at risk for HIV infection. PrEP is free in the state of Illinois, and our team can help to determine if PrEP is right for you and how to access the medication.
Yes, our team can provide safe-sex kits, which include condoms and lube as well as information about our testing program.
In many cases, yes. We routinely help young people (especially those living with HIV or who want to stay HIV-negative) in our community find health insurance and employment opportunities. We may also be able to help you if you are looking to complete your GED or need help with food or transportation.
We follow strict confidentiality rules to honor your right to privacy. For example, what you discuss during a session with your therapist is confidential. We also take additional steps to protect your privacy in our therapy records, which can only be seen by your direct care team. And if you receive HIV-related services through Care2Prevent, we take extra precautions to not disclose your HIV status to other providers, unless they are part of your care team.