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New HHS Grant Will Allow Pennsylvania HIV, STI Education Program to Continue

March 12, 2009

The Community Prevention Partnership of Berks County, Pa. -- which runs a program that provides Hispanic women with education about HIV and sexually transmitted infection prevention, as well as domestic violence -- has received a five-year, $335,000 grant from HHS to continue the program, the Reading Eagle reports. About 300 local women have completed the program, and the grant will allow an additional 400 women in the city of Reading and surrounding township with the opportunity to participate.

The partnership's executive director, Cheryl Guthier, said that it focuses on the city of Reading because of its large Hispanic population, adding that the program plans to expand to Muhlenberg Township, which also has a large Hispanic population. The Eagle reports that the program's classes help alleviate the stigma that can prevent open discussion about HIV/AIDS and substance abuse. The partnership has offered the program for about eight years, the Eagle reports. The recent grant is the third from HHS' Center for Substance Abuse and Prevention. Guthier said because the grant is for five years, there is "more time to do services in the community, more time to evaluate whether or not it's effective." She added, "It will enable us to reach more people" (Negley, Reading Eagle, 3/10).

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