Utilizing Educational Resources to Strengthen a Community

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:

www.whyprep.org

www.preptopreventhiv.org

 



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