Monthly Archives: January 2018

Utilizing Educational Resources to Strengthen a Community

By: AIDS Foundation Houston

Founded in 1982 as Texas’ first organization dedicated to HIV prevention, education, and services, AIDS Foundation Houston (AFH) has steadily evolved from a grass-roots community agency to a professionally managed human services organization that provides many services including benefits and resources counseling, case management, housing, and food and nutrition assistance to low-income, HIV+ men, women, and children. Though our tenure, AFH has had the opportunity to align with community partners to best utilize all resources and provide clients best care locally and nationally.

During 2017, AFH noticed a shift in the landscape of HIV and began having a conversation with local college campuses and other community-based organizations. One conversation with the University of Houston Honors College Biomedical Sciences Department provided an opportunity to begin having a real dialogue about reaching areas in Houston identified through our local Health Department Surveillance team with a high HIV prevalence rate. The University of Houston Community Health Worker certification program was then identified as a way to reach highly affected areas within Houston’s Fifth Ward with an emphasis on Cuney Homes. This certification serves as a foundation for public health strategies and results in increasing education and awareness within the zip codes identified with the most significant burden of HIV transmission. Our relationship with the University of Houston allows the opportunity for their Community Health Workers (CHW) to become trusted, public health workers within their community.  Located directly across the street from Texas Southern University, the Cuney Homes development houses roughly 595 residents, many are University of Houston and TSU students who have figured out a way to live off-campus while keeping their rent affordable. Historically, Cuney Homes has been known for a higher crime and HIV infection rate. Over the years, crime prevention and community outreach have been provided in the community to further raise awareness and increase service to the Cuney Home residents.

AFH is excited to bring both National Library of Medicine (NLM) resources i.e.  MedlinePlus, AIDSInfo, AIDSource, print resources, and AFH PrEP information to a community that continues to benefit from education. AFH will begin the development of thumbs cards. The thumb cards will reflect NLM HIV/AIDS resources and AFH PrEP website information to increase awareness and engagement in prevention. Language development will be supported by community observation, tailoring images to reflect the targeted culture. AFH’s Community Advisory Board and hired CHWs will provide input on all materials developed. Cordinated under the AFH testing team, both education and free HIV/Syphilis testing will be provided as a collaborative effort to offer the most immediate services available.   Five CHW’s will be hired that directly represent Cuney Homes. Two of the applicants are the Cuney Homes President and Vice President, and both have tremendous community buy-in and engagement. During the CHW University of Houston certification training, the course study focused on teaching and communication skills, project management, community assessment and research methods, program assessment, and qualitative research.

Our innovative programs reach over 90,000 individuals throughout the state and nearly 6,000 in the Houston area. AFH is excited about the development of this Community Health Worker program led by the dissemination of NLM and AFH educational resources and looks forward to the community launch of resources during February 2018.

Learn more about AFH PrEP resources at:



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“Pop the Question” Update

By: Black Girl Health

As part of Black Girl Health’s National Social Video Campaign, social media users who view the ” pop the question”social videos created by BGH social influencers will be directed to the BGH website. The Pop the question campaign is focused on getting minority women to pop the question to their partners to get tested.

We are redesigning the BGH website so that it includes a “Pop the Question” page with NLM informed articles, HIV awareness videos and a “pop the question” evaluation survey.  The end users will take our Pop the Question survey to educate and prepare themselves for a successful #popthequestion moment with their significant other. You can view the landing page for the redesign as well as the survey by clicking on the link.

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Philadelphia FIGHT

Since its founding in 1987, the primary purpose of the AIDS Library, a program of the Philadelphia FIGHT Community Health Centers, has been to ensure that accurate information gets into the hands of those who need it most. Over the past 30 years, we have watched as that information has changed forms, from medical journals to films, to websites and mobile apps. Now more than ever, we can leverage the power of online and mobile information technologies to reach people where they already are—in their communities.  Our 2017/2018 AIDS Community Information and Outreach Project “Connect Up, Fight AIDS: Putting Tech, Info, and Resources Where Health Happens” is an exciting initiative that will work to strengthen the ability of frontline staff throughout the city of Philadelphia to support those who access their services to locate the highest quality health information using the NLM’s MedlinePlus, AIDSInfo, AIDSource, and other online and print resources.


Critical health information needs to be easy to find where people live, work, learn, and play. In order to most effectively address HIV in Philadelphia, local communities must have access to treatment and prevention resources. We spent the first quarter of this project developing a training curriculum for non-medical frontline staff from a variety of city services including public computing centers (the KEYSPOTs), public libraries (the Free Library of Philadelphia), and rec centers.

While we will focus our outreach to the frontline staff in Philadelphia neighborhoods most impacted by HIV, we anticipate this training will have broad appeal. Our training goals are for public library staff, computer lab assistants, digital literacy and adult education instructors, and others to 1) learn how to conduct health-specific reference interviews; 2) gain a baseline knowledge of HIV, PrEP, and parallel health issues such as opioid addiction and hepatitis c; and 3) learn how to leverage NLM online resources to answer requests for health information from the Philadelphians they serve every day. These training’s aim to produce community-based experts who will bring these new skills and resources back to their local neighborhoods and customize those resources to best fit those who use their computer lab, take their adult education courses, or visit their library branch.

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Amgios Amantes

By: Prevention Collaborative

In 2016-2017, Spanish language focus groups informed the final look, feel and content of animated, Spanish language educational episodes. Titled, “Amigos y Amantes” (“Friends and Lovers”), the stories briefly show the risk-taking and decision-making choices of three young people, and the related concerns of Maria, the mother, and aunt of two characters. Each episode has a companion information sheet providing additional information about the episode’s topic, and the website also features a curated list of Spanish language resources to provide links to care and services. Details on the episode development and content are available in the four-part series of posts written for the ACIOP blog: Part 1, creating the characters; Part 2, character developmentPart 3, story development; and Part 4, final episodes.


As we developed and disseminated the project, focus group feedback and consultation with experts in the field indicated that while the community saw the need for an English language version of the Spanish content for bilingual audiences, it would not be adequate to simply translate the current scripts into English. It’s critical to remain sensitive to language and cultural considerations when discussing sexuality and risk, and it soon became clear that additional bilingual focus groups should be held to review content before English adaptations are made.

Since the current episodes end with the main characters agreeing together to go to a local clinic to get tested, we also wanted to add a final scene that shows those clinical encounters. As such, the goal of the 2017-2018 Amigos Y Amantes project is to continue and expand this work to create new content, develop an English language mirror site, and then conduct and evaluate an online marketing campaign for all materials to identify best practices for reaching Spanish speaking and bilingual English/Spanish communities via social media.

In the first quarter of our project, we conducted three additional focus groups with bilingual English-Spanish language speakers. We first had participants review existing content and talk about presenting those stories for a bilingual audience, including the incorporation of “Spanglish” and the need to remain clear and relevant across different Spanish speaking cultures.

We then brainstormed and evaluated ideas for the new episode and the feedback was discussed at several meetings of the creative team, which includes our artist and scriptwriter and several experts in public health and health education. Key points to be incorporated into our new episode include:

  1. Issues of insurance, particularly for young people who are on their parents’ coverage. This will be addressed through our character Isabel, who has made previous references to being a college student and so could realistically still be on her parents’ insurance. Consumers also wanted reiteration of the availability of free services, for underinsured, uninsured, and undocumented consumers.
  2. The need to present a wide range of clinical encounters, to show consumers what to expect when they visit a clinic. This will be incorporated into the story by showing the different characters experiencing different phases of the process. Isabel will get PrEP/PEP counseling, which also addresses the desire the audience had for content that isn’t exclusively focused on YMSM. In other scenes, Gabriel will get three-site STI testing; and Mateo will get HIV counseling and testing.
  3. A suggestion that we show “real world” consequences, reactions, and referrals. For example, an STI diagnosis that isn’t “overdramatic” because STIs can be quite common and can be treated, while also emphasizing the fact that most STIs are asymptomatic, and stressing the need for partner notification.
  4. Likewise, actionable information about HIV treatment, undetectable status, and partner notification. Mateo will receive a positive HIV diagnosis and be counseled about the need begin and adhere to medication.

While this 6th episode will conclude the new story development funded during this NLM contract year. However, through funding from a Ryan White Part D supplement, we will continue all three characters’ stories in additional brief vignettes that will explore the challenges of and benefits of being linked to care and staying healthy. All new English and Spanish language content are expected to be released in the spring and summer of 2018.

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By: Christian Bannister, YTH

YTH’s continued work with the National Library of Medicine [NLM] focuses on offering a new and novel approach to HIV prevention among transgender-spectrum youth and provides an update on the expansion of their they2ze mobile application. 


they2ze was created by YTH (youth+tech+health), with the help of the National Library of Medicine, and is designed to assist youth and young adults who identify within the transgender-spectrum with access to inclusive and vetted HIV resources, practices, and medical referrals. Launched in May of 2017, they2ze now has approximately 300 downloads and was featured at the 2017 National Transgender Health Summit in Oakland, CA.

The app, which was originally designed and piloted among the 9 counties that comprise the Greater San Francisco Bay Area, is now in its second phase of development that will expand its resources throughout the entire state of California. To assist with the expansion, YTH has spent the greater part of this quarter focusing on increasing community outreach by engaging with several transgender – spectrum youth providers and community leaders located in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Delano, Fresno, and Monterey, and is currently in the process of enhancing its trans-focused community advisory board to be more geographically representative of the state. The advisory board, whose main role is to provide a geographical and personable perspective, will include several new youth and young adults located throughout the state, all of whom identify within the transgender-spectrum who will offer their support and input on the expansion of the app.


This expansion comes in a timely manner for some California State counties who have been traditionally overlooked. Gloria Garcia, who works as an LGBT Community Worker at the California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA) in Delano, CA, notes that many of their local clients don’t have access to trans resources and could benefit from an app like they2ze. “I am frustrated and tired of not being able to live my true self in my own home”, says one of Gloria’s Kern county clients. “I have been trying for over two years to get on hormones and I can’t; whether it’s a doctor or my insurance I feel like I am running into a wall”.  The they2ze state expansion is expected to be completed by the end of January with a soft release towards the end of March.

Learn more! The they2ze app is now available for download for iOS and Android users.

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