|FPWA Calls for Reframing HIV Prevention Strategies|
|Wednesday, 10 December 2008 06:34|
A new report from the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA) is calling for the reframing of HIV prevention strategies among young women and girls of color in New York City.
The FPWA report, which was released on November 12th , indicates that significant social forces may make it difficult for young women of color in low-income communities to engage in risk-reducing behavior.
“Community-level factors such as limited availability of young men of color as relationship partners, high-risk tendencies of potential male partners and the acceptability of early childbearing impact the way young women of color engage in relationships and make sexual decisions,” said Esther W. Y. Lok, Assistant Director of Policy, Advocacy and Research and Senior Policy Analyst for HIV and AIDS. “Encouraging young Black women and Latinas to engage in safe sex behavior is extremely important, however, it is not enough to shield them from a high-risk environment.”
While HIV prevention initiatives aimed at changing sexual behavior have targeted heterosexual women of color, very few have been designed for heterosexual men of color. Lok pointed out that developing HIV prevention programs for young men of color and neighborhood-specific HIV prevention messages; mandating comprehensive sex education in all public schools; and expanding family planning program sites in neighborhoods with high HIV incidence are tangible solutions that the City and State Departments of Health can focus on to make the sexual environment as a whole safer for these young women.
“HIV prevention will never be fully successful without broader social interventions aimed at addressing the socioeconomic conditions of young women of color in disadvantaged communities and the overarching impact of poverty,” said Fatima Goldman, Executive Director/CEO of FPWA.
FPWA notes that the report is particularly relevant given that HIV incidence in New York City is spreading at three times the national rate, with 72 new infections for every 100,000 people in New York City. Moreover, Black women and Latinas continued to make up 93% percent of the new HIV infections among women in New York City in 2005 and 2006. Roughly three-fifths of these women were living in Brooklyn and the Bronx.