World AIDS Day 2014: An AIDS Free Generation-Do we have the right strategy?
by Cynthia Carey-Grant, Executive Director of WORLD
- Today, over 35 million people worldwide are living with HIV. That is about the same number of people who have died from AIDS between 1981 and 2012. Since the beginning of the epidemic, around 78 million people have been infected with HIV. There are around two million deaths worldwide from AIDS each year, of which about 270,000 are children.
- Sub-Sahara Africa remains most severely affected, with nearly one in every 20 adults are living with HIV and accounting for nearly 71% of the people living with HIV worldwide.
- The United States continues to lag behind on the global HIV care continuum and our country has the highest AIDS-related death rate among the wealthier nations of the world.
- There are approximately 1.2 million people living with HIV in the United States, of which 63% are not getting treatment. That is approximately the same percentage as in the low-and middle-income countries.
- Women make up 20% of the new HIV infections in the US.
- The number of HIV positive women has tripled since 1985.
- 84% of new HIV infections among women are from heterosexual contact.
- African American women are 4 times more likely to become HIV positive than white women.
- An estimated 1 in 32 African American women will be diagnosed with HIV infection in their lifetime.
- The greatest risk of HIV infection for heterosexual African American women is from unprotected sex with a male partner.
The same analogy applies to the inclusion and empowerment of young people whom, without their buy-in and leadership, the promise of an AIDS Free Generation becomes hollow. Not enough youth are included at the policy and program development tables where strategies affecting them are designed. Unfortunately, this is true even at community-based organizations on the ground like WORLD. Their cry, “Nothing about us without us” resonates as truth that demands accountability. And we at WORLD intend to respond, “Yes, you are right. We must do better.” We often here, “Our youth are our future” and nowhere is this more applicable then in our goal of an AIDS Free Generation. We literally cannot do it without them.
- Heterosexual couples (at least one partner must be Black/African American/African descent)
- One partner must be HIV positive and the other partner must be HIV negative
- 8 weekly meetings
- Spending time with your partner
- Talking with other couples affected by HIV
- Fun activities including role plays, videos, and exercise
- 3 to 5 interviews over a 1-year period
- 3 to 5 HIV/STI tests over a 1-year period
- Up to $150 to $260 for completing program activities
- Learn about health issues affecting Blacks/African Americans
- Improve your sense of well-being as a couple and as individuals
- Help your friends, family, and community engage in healthy behaviors
- Be part of an innovative study that will help other couples living with HIV
Community Researchers Engaging Women (CREW) Focus Group
Wednesday, December 10th marked the launch of CREW’s participatory action research project with a Focus Group of women from the community. Each shared their thoughts on health concerns of HIV+ women, healthcare advocacy, and healthcare reform.
We will select highly motivated applicants to participate in a day and a half training where they will learn how to conduct community research. The women selected will learn about confidentiality, asking questions, conducting community surveys, documenting responses and lots of great information about women’s health, leadership and advocacy. After
completing the training, participants will commit to dedicating up to 2 months to the CREW and conduct up to 15 interviews.
All the information collected will be combined into a report and presented at a one day convening in May to health professional, policy makers, community members and social service staff to begin identifying ways to improve, expand and increase the quality of services for all of us here and for women in our families, communities and across our state.