Georgia has one of the nation’s highest rates of HIV, the virus that can develop into AIDS, and many of those infected are African-American women.
In fact, the rate of black women with an HIV diagnosis in the state is 12 times that of white women, according to the CDC.
An Augusta program, though, is helping African-American women get treatment for substance abuse and mental health problems, two factors that increase the risk of getting an HIV infection or spreading it.
The program, SHE PREVAILS, is funded by a three-year, $1.6 million federal grant.
“We want to help women become empowered to take care of their sexual health, to protect themselves, to negotiate complex relationships,” says the program’s director, Lara Stepleman, a psychologist at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University. “The idea behind all of this it to help reduce HIV spread.”
Stepleman talks about how the program works, its challenges and successes, in the above video interview, courtesy of Georgia Regents University.