MAC AIDS Fund Supports Youth Prevention Program @ TWC

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

MACAIDSFundWith vital support from the MAC AIDS Fund and its VIVAGLAM campaign we will launch new programming to support young women in DC on April 1, 2014 that will:

(1) improve their ability to protect their health,
(2) increase healthy communication skills and relationship-building, and
(3) enhance their ability to be self- and community-advocates.

Sepcifically, we will be providing two programs that will support at-risk young women and those who are living with HIV - Between Us Girls and Link to Care & Navigation Services.

Between Us Girls (BUG) is a multifaceted HIV/STI prevention education curriculum that utilizes art, dance, music, and theater. It is implemented through structured group sessions targeting at-toolsrisk girls and young women of color between the ages of 13-21.  BUG combine components from the CDC effective intervention Focus on Youth, with service learning activities from the National Youth Leadership Council’s Y-Rise manual. BUG is an eight-session weekly intervention plus a service learning component, implemented in total over the course of about 10 weeks. We provide access to HIV test and link to care (TLC) services for 100% of participants. Linkages are provided to critical primary and sexual health care, prevention education services, and other services based on participant need.

Link to Care & Navigation Services will ensure young women living with HIV/AIDS ages 18-25 are linked to and retained in care. We will identify youth via the provision of HIV testing and outreach and will provide linkages and navigation support to ensure their access to and retention in care services. Young women living with HIV, especially those ages 18 and older, often find themselves lost as they transition out of well-supported youth-service programs and are confronted with larger, less manageable care systems designed for adults. D.C. DOH recognizes the need for transitional services as, “….both providers and caregivers report difficulties in transitioning such young people to adult care. Young adults need to learn disease self-management and how to navigate the adult system of care. There is concern about a lack of preparation and transitional support.” Participants will be linked to our comprehensive care system that includes CDC and SAMHSA behavioral interventions, treatment adherence education, peer support, and mental health counseling. Via our wrap-around services, we will engage and support enrollment in, access to, and retention in adult systems of care—thereby improving health outcomes.

This project leverages existing organizational resources, including the expertise of our youth team staff, high visibility in the community, extensive collaborative partner network, and robust participation in coalitions and advocacy efforts seeking to address the challenges faced by today’s youth in the District. These resources enable us to readily recruit participants into our programs and to garner interest and support within the community for our work – thereby enhancing its overall effectiveness and impact.

Program interventions are grounded in a service learning framework and leadership development philosophy that embraces young people as a community asset with the capacity to contribute, no matter their age. We recognize that the intersectional issues youth face, such as poverty, are complex; that the economic, political, and gender structures are the true problems; and that supporting girls and women to use their voices and their strengths is key to change—as the history of TWC so clearly reflects. Our extensive experience with youth provides a robust knowledge base for implementing this initiative. 

One VIVAGLAM lipstick can make a huge difference! Thank you MAC AIDS Fund!

Find out more by contacting Melissa Werner, Director of Prevention Programs to learn more.

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