BY BTL STAFF
Young transgender women of color between the ages of 18-29 will have better access to HIV prevention services through the Community Health Awareness Group’s TAP2 (Transwomen are People Too) Project.
The new project, which kicked off April 17 to coincide with National Transgender HIV Testing Day, is funded by the Center for Disease Control Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention. CHAG was awarded as part of a cooperative agreement by the CDC to implement a comprehensive high-impact HIV prevention project for community-based organizations. The total amount of $1.94 million will help both high-risk negative and HIV-positive individuals with a focus on members at greatest risk of acquiring and transmitting HIV infection over a five-year period.
“This will be a great way for CHAG to expand its TAP2 program. It strengthens CHAG’s commitment to partnering with Detroit’s young transgender women of color to deliver life-saving testing, coordination of care and high-impact prevention services,” said CHAG CEO Cindy Bolden Calhoun.
This aligns, she said, directly with the CDC’s core strategies to ‘implement comprehensive HIV prevention programs aimed at reducing morbidity, mortality, and related health disparities among those at highest-risk by providing unfettered access to high quality, life-extending care, free from stigma and discrimination.’
It is built around: formalized collaborations with HIV primary care clinics and community-based organizations providing substance abuse treatment, mental health services, housing, and other essential support services necessary to stabilize and maintain HIV-positive individuals in HIV medical care; program promotion, outreach and recruitment utilizing social network strategies, targeted outreach and enhanced social media; targeted HIV testing using rapid testing technologies, along with personalized cognitive counseling for high-risk negatives; comprehensive HIV prevention with HIV-positive persons and high-risk negatives using CDC-approved prevention interventions along with peer navigation and early intervention services and supportive services; and condom distribution for both HIV-positive and high-risk negative persons. These services are provided under the leadership of CHAG’s TAP2 Youth Advisory Board.
TAP2 identifies HIV-positive people earlier, gets them into care sooner, and keeps them in care to help them live healthier lives, which reduces the further spread of the disease. The program results in more HIV, syphilis and hepatitis testing, with more infected individuals becoming aware of their status. More HIV-positive individuals will receive HIV medical care, medication assistance, behavioral interventions and prevention and essential support services. HIV-negative persons will become more aware of their HIV risk, and more HIV-negative persons will obtain prevention and essential support services, and if they are high-risk negatives, they will be referred for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP).