Empowering young people in the fight against HIV
Love Heals Mission
Love Heals empowers young people in the fight against HIV.
Our HIV-positive speakers are putting a face to the epidemic and our
youth empowerment programs are training a new generation of
community educators and activists. We do this in partnership with
hundreds of school and community groups throughout NYC, reaching both
young people and those individuals who impact their lives, and placing a
special emphasis on outreach to high-risk communities.
Love Heals Values
Love Heals believes that HIV/AIDS education is the right of every
person and that it should be taught in a safe and neutral environment, in a
nonjudgmental manner, and within the context of comprehensive sexuality
education. Love Heals also believes that quality HIV/AIDS education must
respect and value diversity, teach tolerance, dispel stigma, foster self
esteem, and empower the individual.
We believe that young people have the power to effect change and
that their voices must be integrated throughout the organization.
SLIDE 2
Love Heals Programs
LOVE HEALS SPEAKERS BUREAU
NYC’s longest-running HIV/AIDS speakers bureau employs a unique
team approach to provide the basic facts on HIV/AIDS and the
perspective of someone living with HIV.
ALI GERTZ: IN HER OWN WORDS
This educational documentary and lesson guide chronicles the last
four years of Alison Gertz’s life, is approved by the NYC Department
of Education and is free to all NYC public schools.
ADVOCACY
Love Heals contributes its name, voice and resources to defending the
rights of young people to HIV/AIDS education, including serving as a
founding member of the Sex Education Alliance of New York City
(SEANYC) and the Young Women of Color HIV/AIDS Coalition.
ONLINE OUTREACH
Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, Twitter, www.loveheals.org
and LEAP FOR GIRLS
SLIDE 3
Need for Targeted HIV Prevention

1/2 of all new HIV infections in the U.S. occur among people under 25.

1 in 70 NYC residents is HIV+, with infections concentrated in specific
areas, including the South Bronx, East and Central Harlem and Central
Brooklyn.

Of the 30,000 HIV+ females in NYC, 90% are black or Hispanic. 66% of
these live in eastern Brooklyn, the South Bronx and northern Manhattan.

Sexual networks are a driving force behind the HIV epidemic.

A 2005 strategic planning process resulted in a commitment to more
proactive outreach to communities most impacted by the epidemic.

In 2006, Love Heals cofounded the Young Women of Color HIV/AIDS
Coalition, which undertook a needs assessment.
 holistic approach
 context in which decisions are made
 intersection between HIV and other issues
SLIDE 4
The Leadership Empowerment and Awareness (LEAP) Program for Girls
is training a new generation of community educators and activists in those
areas of New York City that have felt the greatest impact from the HIV epidemic.
….
A Program of LOVE HEALS, the Alison Gertz Foundation for AIDS Education
SLIDE 5
Program Overview
TARGET POPULATION: Young women of color 12-18 in East and Central
Harlem, the South Bronx and Central Brooklyn.
CONTEXT/INFLUENCING FACTORS:
 Peer group influences  Family
 Media
 Religious beliefs
 Low perceived risk
 Societal views of young women of color
ACTIVITIES:
 Partnership with School and/or Community Group
 Focus Group/Needs Assessment
 12 Two-Hour Sessions and 2-3 Follow-Up Sessions
 values
 communication
 gender roles and sexuality
 puberty and anatomy
 teen pregnancy and parenting
 STIs and HIV/AIDS
 presentation skills
 contraception
 decision making
 healthy relationships
 Clinic Tour, Community Service Project, Graduation, Parent
Workshop, Facilitator-in-Training, Program Intern
SLIDE 6
Program Objectives
SHORT-TERM: Changes in Knowledge
STIs, HIV/AIDS, contraception, human sexuality, reproductive systems
and anatomy, pregnancy and childbirth, pregnancy options, relationship
dynamics, risk behaviors, gender roles, sisterhood and safe space,
community resources, myths and stigma, etc.
MEDIUM-TERM: Changes in Skills/Attitudes
condom self-efficacy and skills, self esteem, leadership, communication
skills, comfort discussing sexuality, awareness of gender/ethnicity/
sexual orientation roles and stereotypes, perception of own HIV risk,
and awareness of personal values and behaviors, as well as impact of
environment, society, family, community, etc.
LONG-TERM: Changes in Behavior
delayed sexual initiation, abstinence, condom use, improved
relationship communication, positive relationships with women,
accessing gynecological care, continuing to share information with
community
SLIDE 7
Program Outcomes
DEMOGRAPHICS:
 24 partnerships with schools and community-based organizations
 240 LEAP for Girls graduates
 3,500 community members reached through service projects
 81% retention rate
CHANGES IN KNOWLEDGE:
 30% increase in communication techniques and skills
 3% increase in modes of HIV transmission
 8% increase in reproductive health and rights
CHANGES IN ATTITUDES:
 2-5% increase in self esteem
 4% increase in HIV risk perception
CHANGES IN BEHAVIOR
While the total number of respondents is still too small to analyze, focus
groups and one-on-one interviews suggest improvement in condom
use, communication and relationships with other women.
SLIDE 8
Why LEAP for Girls Works

Designed in conjunction with target population

Not just HIV – lots of other factors that put young women at risk

Best practices/research and real-life experiences

Linking facts to psychosocial dimension, skills-building

Builds capacity within participants and communities

Safe space, open dialogue, sisterhood

Facilitators as role models

Participants take on leadership roles as interns, facilitators-in-training

Ongoing engagement through LEAP for Girls Alumnae Program
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Online social networking
group learning events
socializing
advocacy and community outreach activities
iLove, an online peer education project

and PARTNERSHIPS…
SLIDE 9
Partnering with Institutions & Individuals
LEAP FOR GIRLS PARTNERS
 Individual schools and community groups
 Youth-friendly clinics
 Local restaurants and other businesses
 Program alumnae
 Parents, educators and community leaders
 Local and national youth-serving organizations
CHALLENGES
 Working off-site
 Sustaining involvement
 Maintaining partnerships
TIPS FOR SUCCESS
 Clear expectations are key!
 Regular communication – and flexibility
 360-degree approach
 Build capacity within community
 Ongoing support and engagement
SLIDE 10
LEAP for Girls in Action
Jasmine Nielsen, Executive Director, [email protected]
Britnee Stewart, Peer Educator, [email protected]
Love Heals Inc.
2 Fifth Avenue #2Q, New York, NY 10011
Tel 212/529-7935, Fax 212/529-7932
www.loveheals.org
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Presentation at “Engaging Institutional and Individual Stakeholders”