South Carolina: HIV-Education Grant Awarded
November 20, 2002
A $5.2 million grant establishing the nation's only HIV prevention institute at the University of South Carolina-Columbia will help educate people on the front lines of prevention. The three-year grant will help USC's Norman J. Arnold School of Public Health train people from community prevention groups across the country.
Community involvement in prevention is key. "People are more comfortable getting prevention messages from someone they know and trust," said Donna Richter, a professor at USC's school of public health who headed the pilot program. Richter is now co-director of the Centers for Disease Control/Association of Schools of Public Health Institute for HIV Prevention Leadership.
Richter and colleagues have spent the past three years fine-tuning the program; they have trained nearly 100 participants from 29 states and territories. Though their educational levels vary, all participants have backgrounds in community-based HIV prevention efforts. Over the course of nine months, participants attend four intensive one-week sessions in Atlanta. They learn to develop programs that will do the most good in their community, and they are taught to evaluate existing programs, Richter said.
Gwendolyn Curry is director of Present Day Care Inc. in Charlotte, N.C. Since graduating from the institute in September, she has helped expand and launch two programs aimed at HIV prevention. Her group was already working with another agency on an initiative targeting a gay men who use intravenous drugs; however, the effort was not really effective because the groups did not know how to reach the men, she said. After her institute experience, Curry decided to train gay male former drug users and have them take their prevention message to gay nightclubs. This has proved more effective, Curry said. She also helped develop the CDC's SISTA program in Charlotte; this teaches African-American women to be more assertive in relationships and require their sex partners to wear condoms.
South Carolina ranks ninth in the nation for the rate of AIDS cases per 100,000 people. Since 1986, more than 18,000 HIV cases have been reported in the state, according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.
State (Columbia, S.C.)
11.20.02; Jaymi Freiden
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This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.