Name of OMH Grant Program: Curbing HIV/AIDS Transmission Among High-Risk Minority Youth and Adolescents (CHAT)
Initial Year of Funding: FY 2009
Project Period (Number of Years): 3
- Grantee Organization Name: Alternatives for Girls
- Organization Address (Street, City, State, Zip): 903 W. Grand Blvd. Detroit, MI 48208
- Organization website URL (if any): http://www.alternativesforgirls.org/
- Brief Description of the Organization: Alternatives for Girls (AFG) is a community-based nonprofit organization that has a proven track record of providing high-risk girls and women with pathways out of poverty and opportunities to transform their lives. AFG delivers three key services to homeless and high-risk girls and young women, including AFG Prevention Services; the AFG Shelter and Transition to Independent Living Program and AFG Outreach Activities.
GRANT PROJECT INFORMATION
- Title of Grant Project: Love Chat
- Amount of OMH Award: $250,000
- Name of Project Director: Deena L. Policicchio
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE GRANT PROJECT
AFG programming is designed to address the immediate- and long-term needs of young women served, empower them to seek and make positive choices, and affect lasting and meaningful change in their lives. This project focused on African American female youth who were at risk for contact with the juvenile justice system, were homeless or runaways, and were experiencing other life situations that increased their vulnerability to HIV/AIDS. Love Chat used traditional channels, as well as new technologies to engage the target population. The program researched existing internet outreach interventions and developed a curriculum for HIV-related education and outreach, and coordinated with partners to disseminate information. Peer educators were recruited and participated in weekly trainings to learn HIV prevention and intervention techniques. Peer educators would then conduct web-based outreach and workshops.
Love Chat was expected to increase HIV testing, counseling and referrals for the target population, increase detection of HIV-infected individuals and knowledge of serostatus, and increase the general knowledge about HIV and AIDS -- thereby, increasing the adoption of healthy behaviors. Additionally, Love Chat worked with service providers to increase collaboration. Specific targets included reducing risky behaviors by 70 percent from baseline to follow-up, engaging at least 100 youth through the internet and having 70 percent of youth complete a behavior survey report indicating an intention to reduce risky behaviors, and having 60 percent of youth participating in HIV prevention agree to on-the spot HIV testing and receipt of follow-up services.
The evaluation employed a single group, pre-post design. Evaluation data were collected from participant workshop assessment forms, peer-educator focus groups; social media tracking systems; clinic and testing records; and referral tracking forms. Data included number of peer educators, percentage of peer educators able to demonstrate skills and knowledge learned in training, goals completed, positive behavior modifications adopted, number of youth tested and with known serostatus, number of youth who tell other youth about testing resources (via discussion boards, wall posts, status and updates/comments), number of youth who access testing/case planning services (via partners and the internet), number of HIV discussion forms completed. Pre-/post-tests were used to determine the percentage of partner staff who increased skills and knowledge of HIV/AIDS, percentage of youth who learned at least one new resource, and the percentage of participants who increased the intention to utilize the skills learned.
Key program findings reported throughout the grant period
- Increased testing and knowledge of serostatus. A total of 118 youth were screened for HIV throughout the duration of this project. No one tested positive.
- Increased general knowledge about HIV and AIDS. Of the 530 workshop attendees, 85 percent indicated increasing general knowledge about HIV and AIDS.
- Increased collaboration among services providers. Partners, Horizons and Community Health Awareness Group (CHAG), formed their own individual collaborations with AFG in order to reach a new population of young at-risk women.
- Increased adoption of modified behaviors. Of the 22 individuals who served as Youth Peer Educators, 80 percent indicated modifying behaviors to decrease their risk of HIV infection.
- Modified behavior from intervention. Of the individuals who completed satisfaction surveys, 90 percent expressed intent to modify behaviors.
RELATED NATIONAL PARTNERSHIP FOR ACTION TO END HEALTH DISPARITIES GOALS
- Awareness: Increase awareness of the significance of health disparities, their impact on the nation, and the actions necessary to improve health outcomes for racial, ethnic, and other disparities population.
RELATED HEALTHY PEOPLE 2020 OBJECTIVES & SUBOBJECTIVES
- FP-12.3 Increase the proportion of female adolescents who received formal instruction on birth control methods before they were 18 years old
- FP-12.5 Increase the proportion of female adolescents who received formal instruction on HIV/AIDS prevention before they were 18 years old
- FP-12.7 Increase the proportion of female adolescents who received formal instruction on sexually transmitted diseases before they were 18 years old
- FP-13.3 Increase the proportion of female adolescents who talked to a parent or guardian about birth control methods before they were 18 years old
- FP-13.5 Increase the proportion of male adolescents who talked to a parent or guardian about birth control methods before they were 18 years old
- FP-13.7 Increase the proportion of female adolescents who talked to a parent or guardian about sexually transmitted diseases before they were 18 years old
- STD-1.1 Reduce the proportion of females aged 15 to 24 years with Chlamydia trachomatis infections attending family planning clinics
- STD-3.1 Increase the proportion of sexually active females aged 16 to 20 years enrolled in Medicaid plans who are screened for genital Chlamydia infections during the measurement year
- STD-4.1 Increase the proportion of sexually active females aged 16 to 20 years enrolled in commercial health insurance plans who are screened for genital Chlamydia infections during the measurement year
- STD-6.1 Reduce gonorrhea rates among females aged 15 to 44 years