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Meet the Grantees: HIV/AIDS/STIs Prevention

At A Glance

  • 2

    Demonstration projects test the effectiveness of behavioral interventions in reducing the rate of HIV/STI infection in Black and Latina women.

  • 8

    Grantees and partners are working in Los Angeles and Alameda counties to reduce the rate of HIV/STI infection among Black women.

  • 500+

    Black women will attend 4-6 week HIV/STI prevention sessions. The two interventions used are new and innovative adaptations of Eban (Los Angeles) and SISTA (Alameda).

As part of our HIV/AIDS/STI Initiative, we launched two demonstration projects and they each have two main goals. Their first goal is to document and disseminate best practices currently available to address prevention and early intervention for women of color at risk for HIV, AIDS and STIs. Their second goal is to develop innovations to existing intervention models. Our two demonstration projects are our way of demonstrating to the field what’s possible. Our grantees are constantly testing, learning and improving as part of their process.

We funded two demonstration projects, one in Los Angeles County and the other in Alameda County. Each project has a lead organization and several partner organizations. These organizations are using culturally conscious and respectful methods to help African American women decrease their risk  for contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. These methods, called behavioral interventions, are evidence-based strategies that include increasing access to health and social services, decreasing costs of access and reducing stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS/STIs.

Our demonstration projects are focusing on behavioral interventions while bringing in and experimenting with elements of biomedical interventions. By biomedical interventions, we refer to strategies that focus on using medication such as antiretroviral treatment and vaccines. We believe that biomedical interventions are truly effective for prevention only when combined with behavioral interventions.

Finally, our demonstration projects are looking for ways to innovate the existing behavioral models as well as use policy advocacy to raise the voices of women of color on these issues.

Los Angeles County Demonstration Project

The WC4WC (Women of Color for Women of Color) demonstration project in Los Angeles County is led by Dr. Gail Wyatt, Director of the Center for Culture, Trauma and Mental Health Disparities at UCLA’s Semel Institute. Semel Institute is a preeminent leader on Eban model of intervention and has participated in research studies that have demonstrated the effectiveness of this model in reducing HIV/STI risk behaviors among African American HIV couples where one partner has HIV.

Semel Institute partners with three well-known and well-respected grassroots organizations that have experience working with African-American women and communities: To Help Everyone ClinicWatts Healthcare and Black Women for Wellness.

These organizations are using a new adaptation of the Eban intervention model to facilitate training and education for sexual risk reduction. Eban is a culturally congruent, couple-based intervention consisting of 8 weekly sessions delivered by male and female African American co-facilitators. The intervention includes 4 sessions delivered to individual couples and 4 sessions delivered to groups of 3 to 5 couples. The African concept of Eban, a word that means fence, represents safety, security, and love within one’s family and relationships. This concept is woven into the community education and culturally relevant sessions.

In addition, there’s a policy advocacy component to this demonstration project’s work. The grantees are collecting the stories and capturing the voices of organizations that serve African American women and sharing their insights with advocates and policymakers. Their objective is to ensure that the voices of women of color are heard loud and clear in the policy discussions about ending the epidemic.

Alameda County Demonstration Project

In Alameda County, Women Organized to Respond to Life-Threatening Diseases (WORLD) created their own cohort of collaborating organizations. They partnered with The Latina Center in Richmond, Cal-Pep, which works with and advocates for the rights of sex workers, and Girls Inc. of Alameda County, a Bay-Area based organization that exclusively serves girls in California.

These four organizations joined forces to create Sisters United Now! (SUN) Project. They’re all using innovative adaptations of S.I.S.T.A. (Sisters Informing Sisters on Topics about AIDS), a peer-led, skill-building intervention project used to prevent HIV infection in African American women. The intervention is delivered in five sessions and includes discussions of self-esteem, relationships, and sexual health. The curriculum is gender-specific, age-specific and culturally relevant. The Latina Center is using an innovative adaptation of AMIGAS, the S.I.S.T.A intervention that was developed for Latinas, and Girls Inc. is using SIHLE, the S.I.S.T.A intervention that was developed for teens.

In addition, there is a policy advocacy component to this demonstration project’s work. The grantees and their community partners created the STI Prevention Network to promote and advocate for integrated prevention and early intervention services, as well as encourage service providers to adopt tenets of trauma-informed care for their clients.


We awarded a grant to the National Black Women’s Justice Institute to work in partnership with two other organizations to evaluate the women's initiatives. Among other things, the evaluation will assess the initiatives’ effectiveness and scalability; uplift best practices; and identify areas of intersection (race, gender, sexuality, ability, health status, conviction status, etc.) for future collaboration. The evaluation team will use a unique, responsive framework to evaluate the projects. Because this is participatory research, the evaluators will partner with the demonstration project grantees to determine the evaluation questions as well as adjustments to the work as it proceeds.

The report will be prepared once the work has concluded. Until then, sign up for our e-newsletter below to stay informed.

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