A Hernando County Health Department HIV education and outreach program was recently honored with a Model Practice Award from the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). The program, called "Positively Negative," was launched last year as a way to reduce stigma and increase knowledge about HIV among African-American youths.
Hernando health officials enhanced a CDC-produced video and developed educational materials targeted teens. Boosted by a $6,800 grant from the state-funded Area Health Education Center, Positively Negative "was presented at churches and wherever we saw kids gather," said Lashaundra Ellison of the county health department.
Program goals included:
- Having 75 black teens participate in a video stressing abstinence and safer sex; 86 took part.
- Increasing by 20 percent the number of teens seen at health department clinics; the increase was 45 percent.
- Securing the collaboration of 10 community groups to help spread the program's message and provide host space; 10 signed up.
Positively Negative will be featured on the NACCHO network so that other health agencies can replicate its successes. The award was one of 41 handed out across the country and the first for Hernando County.
For more information about the program, telephone Ellison at 352-540-6873.