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Calling All AAHU Alumni!

May 9, 2010

The African American HIV University (AAHU) was developed in 1999 as a structural intervention program intended to change cultural norms and perceptions in the Black community around access to and utilization of HIV prevention services. AAHU is composed of two colleges: the AAHU Community Mobilization College (CMC) and the AAHU Science and Treatment College (STC) each with its own agenda.

AAHU fosters alliances with organizations nationwide and with their respective communities in order to increase access to and utilization of HIV prevention services. We hope that AAHU has aided in building your individual strength and capacity as a leader, mobilizing your communities, and forging relationships with stakeholders, community leaders, traditional Black institutions and CBOs/ASOs in your community. We are proud to announce that over 100 Fellows have graduated from AAHU.

In a goal to create sustainable alliances for future collaboration and programs support, the Institute is implementing a quarterly alumnus newsletter for all AAHU alumni to stay connected with each other and with the Institute. A consistent flow of communication will not only help AAHU keep in touch with alumni and have alumni keep in touch with the AAHU, but also create a larger network of people working towards the same goals.

As a catalyst for solidifying the relationships made through AAHU, we are requesting article submissions from alumni about how AAHU has affected them, their organization or their community by creating opportunities for prevention tactics, HIV/AIDS events happening in your city and volunteer opportunities, or any successes or concerns your community may be facing.

We ask that articles be no longer than 250 words; see examples below. Please submit articles and updates to by May 31, 2010 to be included in the first newsletter that will be released on July 1, 2010. We would also appreciate being sent updated contact information including an organization's name, address, telephone number and email to reach you at.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact Program Associate, Gopi Shah, through email at or at 213-353-3610 x 120.

Example 1

Washington, D.C. The D.C. Department of Health annual report for 2009 indicated that rates of HIV continue to climb. Alarmed by the problem, local non-profit Food & Friends has stepped in to try to make a difference in the HIV/AIDS fight. On Saturday, March 6, 2010, the organization hosted a daylong community-outreach event in recognition of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD), an initiative to encourage Black people to get tested, educated and treated for HIV/AIDS. Seventeen HIV-focused organizations came together at the Riggs LaSalle Community Center in northeast D.C. to talk with attendees about safer sex practices, lead educational workshops on HIV/AIDS, and distribute condoms and literature. The free event, the brainchild of Food & Friends community-relations coordinator Anthony Harbour, was the first of its kind for the non-profit, which serves meals daily to people living with HIV/AIDS and other life-challenging illnesses in the greater metropolitan area. Harbour said it was important for Food & Friends to recognize NBHAAD because half of the organization's clients are living with HIV/AIDS, and nearly three-quarters are Black. Please contact XX for more information about the event or how to get involved at XXX-XXX-XXXX.

Example 2

Denver, CO Pamela Richard was surprised by the amount of resistance she encountered when she told her friends that she was doing outreach on HI/AIDS in her Denver community. What pushed her to get involved was the realization that she could be effective by working with women who looked like her. During her time as a Fellow at the Black AIDS Institute's African American HIV University, Richard discovered that what was missing from her community were prevention messages targeting women of faith like her and her friends. She set to work contacting women's ministries, inviting 60 to come to a mobilization event she called Hats for Health, which created a successful space for women to talk about spirituality and sexuality. She planned the event as a high tea featuring women wearing elaborate hats as an expression of their culture and traditions. In this relaxing atmosphere women were educated about the virus and were able to express their concerns about many sexual health topics.

In addition to working on next year's mobilization event, Richard is busy working on a project that was an outgrowth of Hats for Health. She was awarded a grant from the Denver health department to research the dating habits of women of faith and their thoughts about HIV. She will be conducting focus groups with 40 women and one-on-one interviews with 40 women of faith to get information about what they would want in an HIV/AIDS ministry, so that the churches can design interventions that will really work for them. Please contact Pamela for more information about the event or how to get involved at XXX-XXX-XXXX.

This article was provided by The Black AIDS Institute. Visit Black AIDS Institute's website to find out more about their activities and publications.
See Also
Quiz: Are You at Risk for HIV?
10 Common Fears About HIV Transmission
Programs & Outreach

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