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Youth Prevention Program

youthDeveloping skills among youth focused on HIV and STD prevention is critical in D.C. because of the high prevalence of HIV and STDs. Chlamydia and gonorrhea rates are on the rise in the community.  The lack of awareness and high level of risk behaviors that young women are engaged in underlies the importance of this program in addressing these issues. Further, lack of access to regular health care, lagging comprehensive sexual health education and services, early sexual début, older sexual partners among youth (>18), stigma, and lack of socio-cultural support structures are some of the factors affecting rising HIV and STD infection rates among youth.

Our Youth HIV/STD Prevention Program builds the life skills of low-income, at-risk girls and young women of color ages 12-25 living in Wards 5, 6, 7 & 8 with the highest HIV and STD incidence rates in D.C. The program improves their health outcomes, communication skills, and sense of self worth with activities focusing on self esteem building, self-efficacy, and enhancing value identification.  It combines several effective or evidence-based interventions:

1.) Sisters Informing Healing Living and Empowering (SiHLE): CDC group intervention for sexually active girls ages 14-18;

2.) Between Us Girls (BUG): TWC designed group intervention for girls ages 13-19. BUG aims to empower youth so they can address the major milestones in their lives ranging from puberty, sexual activities, healthy relationships to self-care and so much more;

3.) Remind. Encourage. Prevent. Protect. (REPP): Community level education/outreach campaign in a service learning framework; and

4.) SisterAct/Intergeneration: TWC designed targeted group level interventions for girls and their female family members focused on strengthening intergenerational communication and skills building on the topic of sexual and reproductive health and well-being.

Program interventions combine to promote and strengthen resiliency. By breaking negative patterns of behavior youth can address protective and risk factors, which are determinants of health, thereby reducing negative health outcomes over their lifespan. These interventions combine to empower, educate, and encourage youth to protect themselves now in order to grow into healthy adults.

Would you like to learn more? Contact Chantil Thomas, Youth Program Team Leader at 202.483.7003 or chantil@womenscollective.org.