The Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force is tackling teen STDs and pregnancies with the "Girl Talk Project" (GTP), a home-based outreach targeting small groups of African-American girls.
"We gather six to 10 girls, 13-18 years old, and discuss STDs, domestic violence, HIV 101, have activities and question-and-answer sessions," said Tiffani Thompson, GTP's coordinator. "We also offer testing at these parties at an anonymous location away from the party."
"These are kind of like the old Tupperware parties," Thompson said. The host receives a $50 incentive; attendees receive $10; and $20 is offered when those who test for HIV receive the results. GTP is modeled on the task force's "Girlfriends Project," which caters to those over age 18 but does not offer cash incentives to attend.
The group recently held a workshop to facilitate parents' conversations with their teens. The objective was to enable parents or guardians to be comfortable, knowledgeable and effective in their sexual health discussions, Thompson said.
"Our mission is to reduce pregnancy and STDs among adolescents, and parental involvement is key," said one presenter, Damion Wilson, manager for the Center for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention at Adagio Health. "Parents need to be the primary source."
For more information, visit www.patf.org.