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Metro Brief: CDC awards $1.5 million grant to Us Helping Us for HIV prevention

On October 23, 2011

  • BSU senior G No. 20 scored 20 points in the 66-63 loss to ECSU in the 2012 CIAA men’s tournament March 2.

Us Helping Us, People Into Living, Inc. (UHU) received a $1.5 million grant from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to expand HIV prevention services for young Black gay and same-gender-loving men, ages 18 – 29, in the Washington, DC area.

"We are honored to be one of only 34 agencies across the nation funded to provide programs and services targeting young minority gay men and transgender youth," said Ron Simmons, Ph.D., the President/CEO of UHU. "Recent data show that young Black gay and same-gender-loving men have a particularly high and increasing risk of HIV infection. We view this project as a great responsibility that can be a significant factor in reducing HIV infection in our community."

The five-year grant, $300,000 a year, will allow UHU to provide HIV counseling and testing, the Healthy Relationships intervention, and the Mpowerment intervention. Healthy Relationships and Mpowerment are interventions recommended by the CDC for proven effectiveness.

"According to CDC estimates released in August, between 2006 and 2009, the annual number of new HIV infections increased 48% among young Black men who have sex with men," said Ernest Walker, the UHU Senior Manager of Programs. "In 2000, Us Helping Us conducted the second largest needs assessment of Black and Latino transgender individuals in the country. That needs assessment estimated that 32% of Black male-to-female transgenders in the District were HIV infected."

UHU provides HIV counseling and testing for over 2,000 men and women each year, including gay men, heterosexual men and women, transgender individuals, and youth. The Healthy Relationships intervention targets those living with HIV to help them deal with issues of disclosure to their friends, families and sex partners. UHU has conducted the Healthy Relationships intervention in the past.

"Mpowerment will be a new program for us," said Brian Hamlett, UHU Program Coordinator. "It is a community-level program that calls for the establishment of a youth-run center for Black gay youth and their friends. There has never been such a center in the District. Creating it will be a challenge, but it is an exciting challenge."

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