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Program Details


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Practice Type: Model
Program Name: Positively Negative - Increasing HIV/AIDS Awareness Among African American Teens
Organization: Hernando County Health Department
Web site:
Overview: Positively Negative - Increasing HIV/AIDS Awareness Among African American Teens
Year Submitted: 2011
Responsiveness and Innovation: The HIV/AIDS epidemic remains a highly significant public health problem as HIV/AIDS continues to spread with ferocious speed. Virtually unknown 20 years ago, HIV has infected more than 60 million people worldwide. Each day, approximately 14,000 new infections occur, more than half of them among young people below age 25 - a group likely to have contracted HIV as adolescents. This underscores the need for advocating prevention to teens so they are equipped with the information/resources needed to protect themselves and each other from HIV. African American teens are a particularly vulnerable population. Tragically, African American teens compromise the single largest group of young people affected by HIV in the US. Although African American teens age 13-19 represent only 15% of the US population, they account for 66% of the AIDS cases in this age category. This same pattern can be seen in Florida where African Americans comprise 15% of Florida’s adult (13 ) population, but over half (53%) of the AIDS cases and 45% of the HIV cases reported in 2008. Of the 3,534 HIV/AIDS cases for ages 13-24 in Florida in 2008, 30% were of the age group 13-19 and 70% were African Americans.
Agency and Community Roles: The Hernando County Health Department spearheaded this project by: (1) securing the funding (2) training staff in VOICES (3) ordering materials (4) identifying and soliciting support from community partners (5) supplying community partners with promotional materials (6) conducting and evaluating the VOICES sessions (7) performing HIV testing (8) writing required reports (9) maintaining ongoing collaborative relationships with partners
Costs and Expenditures: The Florida Department of Health, Hernando County Health Department (HCHD) developed the Positively Negative program increase access to quality health care, health education, and HIV/AIDS disease prevention measures among African American teenagers residing in the 34601 zipcode area or Hernando County. The link between high rates of HIV/AIDS deaths and young African Americans is well established. This disparity is particularly glaring in Positively Negative's target population, African American teens in Hernando County’s 34601 zipcode area. Residents in the 34601 zipcode area are younger and represent the highest proportion of the county’s African American population. The death rate from HIV in the 34601 zipcode is 2.2 times higher than the rate for Hernando County. What’s more, the age-adjusted HIV death rate among non-whites in the county has climbed over three percent in just four years. HIV/AIDS awareness education and testing are imperative to reverse this tragic trend. Last year only 22% of teens aged 13-19 tested for HIV through the Hernando County Health Department’s Teen Clinic were African American. To complicate matters, a staggering 21% of those same African American teens - double the rate of white teens - were previously diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Positively Negative was initially implemented in April 2010 to accomplish these objectives: 1. By June 30, 2010 seventy-five (75) African American teenagers aged 13-19 will participate in Video Opportunities for Innovative Condom Education and Safer Sex (VOICES). 2. By June 30, 2010 increase by 10% the proportion of African American teenagers aged 13-19 who participate in the Teen Clinic offered at the Hernando County Health Department. 3. By June 30, 2010 increase by 20% the proportion of African American teenagers aged 13-19 who are tested for HIV by the Hernando County Health Department. 4. By June 30, 2010 secure letters of commitment from 10 agencies stating that they agree to offer VOICES quarterly. Positively Negative was implemented in two phases: Phase 1: Outreach marketing Contacts were made with local churches and community based organizations to establish the presentation schedule and plan a strategic marketing strategy to primarily reach area African American teens residing in the target area. Video Opportunities for Innovative Condom Education and Safer Sex (VOICES) materials were purchased. VOICES a video-based HIV/STD prevention program, is designed to encourage condom use and improve condom negotiation skills among African Americans. VOICES has demonstrated effectiveness in reducing risky behaviors and is recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). VOICES participants have a significantly lower rate of infection with new STDs; increased knowledge about the transmission of HIV and other STDs; and increased intentions to use condoms regularly. Phase 2: Implementation/Evaluation VOICES was provided at organizations committed to playing a role in empowering youth to make a positive impact on the HIV/AIDS epidemic. As inroads were made within the target community, letters of commitment were secured from key agencies expressing their willingness to offer VOICES quarterly. HIV testing, the cornerstone of this project was offered to the target population, real time, on an ongoing basis. Teen Clinic, an entrée into health care services as well as HIV testing, was continually promoted through street corner/neighborhood outreach. By June 2010, Positively Negative had met or exceeded its objectives: 1. By June 30, 2010 eighty-five (target = 75) African American teenagers aged 13-19 participated in VOICES. 2. By June 30, 2010 the proportion of African American teenagers aged 13-19 who participate in the Teen Clinic offered at the HCHD increased by 45% (target = 10%). 3. By June 30, 2010 the proportion of African American teenagers aged 13-19 who are tested for HIV by the HCHD increased by 25% (target = 20%). 4. By June 30, 2010 ten letters of commitment were received from local agencies stating that they agree to offer VOICES quarterly (target = 10). The participation and support of community partners played a large role in the success of Positively Negative. Not only did local partners open their doors to host this program, but also their commitment to the teens and the ultimate cause of the program motivated them to become harbingers of its message.
Implementation: The HIV/AIDS epidemic remains a highly significant public health problem as HIV/AIDS continues to spread with ferocious speed. Virtually unknown 20 years ago, HIV has infected more than 60 million people worldwide. Each day, approximately 14,000 new infections occur, more than half of them among young people below age 25 - a group likely to have contracted HIV as adolescents. This underscores the need for advocating prevention to teens so they are equipped with the information/resources needed to protect themselves and each other from HIV. African American teens are a particularly vulnerable population. Tragically, African American teens compromise the single largest group of young people affected by HIV in the US. Although African American teens age 13-19 represent only 15% of the US population, they account for 66% of the AIDS cases in this age category. This same pattern can be seen in Florida where African Americans comprise 15% of Florida’s adult (13 ) population, but over half (53%) of the AIDS cases and 45% of the HIV cases reported in 2008. Of the 3,534 HIV/AIDS cases for ages 13-24 in Florida in 2008, 30% were of the age group 13-19 and 70% were African Americans.
Sustainability: The new community partners that have been secured through Positively Negative serve as the backbone of the project’s sustainability. Letters of Commitment have been received from community stakeholders expressing their willingness to support the project by: o acting as a point of contact o providing space and volunteers for educational events o promoting the project within their organization as well as among community members o offering VOICES or HIV/AIDS education quarterly at their facility The community has recognized the need for the project and its ability to increase HIV/AIDS awareness and testing among the area’s most vulnerable population. Outreach efforts will continue and, as they do, more letters of commitment will be obtained to ensure program sustainability. The HCHD has already witnessed local stakeholders providing more and more resources to ensure that Positively Negative remains a regular event within their respective organizations. In keeping with the mission of the Florida Department of Health, the HCHD will continue to provide HIV/AIDS testing as a core public health service. The availability of such testing, coupled with HIV/AIDS awareness/prevention efforts and the impact of the VOICES intervention, will keep Positively Negative on the local forefront and contribute to program sustainability. Continuous marketing at minority focused events will continue to saturate the community and will allow for project expansion and sustainability.
Lessons Learned:

 

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