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U.S. News

Pittsburgh, Pa., AIDS Task Force Develops Innovative Program to Reach Key Audiences

October 1, 2009

Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force's Girlfriends Project (GP) has received national attention, thanks to its innovative programming having been presented at CDC's recent 2009 National HIV Prevention Conference in Atlanta. In a prevention-oriented take on the traditional Tupperware party, a host invites friends and family to her home; guests learn about HIV/AIDS, domestic violence, and male and female condoms; and they receive free HIV testing and referrals for counseling.

Daphne Parker, HIV prevention programs coordinator for the task force, said GP was conceived in response to a CDC study six years ago showing that black women ages 18-29 were disproportionately contracting the disease.

GP began as a pilot project in October 2007 with the goal of reaching at least 20 women at six parties. Between October and January, project coordinator Lisa Dukes held nine parties with 48 women. GP officially kicked off in October 2008, backed by $179,000 in grant funding.

Over the past year, Dukes has presented to roughly 176 people, mostly women. The number of inquiries about the project is overwhelming, she said. She tries to hold at least two parties a week and limits the number of attendees to 15 people.

Part of GP's success is attributed to its reaching people who otherwise might not seek assistance from an agency due to stigma or shame. The setting of someone's home creates a haven for people to share thoughts and ask questions without embarrassment, said Dukes. "They don't have to go outside their comfort zone," explained Parker. "We meet them there."

The task force is expanding the project -- which started in Braddock, Duquesne, and Clairton -- to other areas due to its popularity.

Back to other news for October 2009

Adapted from:
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
09.27.2009; Jessica Turnbull

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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