Monday, March 29, 2010


...Here to protect you!

One of the challenges we face every day is encouraging people to protect themselves and wear the rubbers we distribute. Like we mentioned in the last post, at least 3% of DC residents are positive for HIV. Yet in this high risk city, only 30% use condoms.

Reasons why vary, from not wanting to pay to decreased pleasure. For women, who face a higher risk of HIV infection to begin with, encouraging their partner to wear a condom can be an issue of power - and poverty. Studies have shown that young women, especially single mothers, will put immediate needs such as shelter and food above long term risks, including HIV.

So what can we do? Our most effective approach is one on one conversations, hundreds of which happen every week in and around our mobile testing units. After discussing HIV risk factors, constituents are given condoms and encouraged to get tested.

We also provide free condoms in barber shops, salons and other locations where the District's Black community gather. We supply 150 locations with at least 100 condoms a week - distributing hundreds of thousands of condoms each year.

But this still isn't enough. We need discussions about safe sex to happen every where, every day - and we need condom use to be the good, strong, right thing to do.

Which is where our public awareness campaign - Rubberman - comes in. He's strong, he's Black, and he's the public face of our condom initiative. With advertisements in the Washington Informer, stickers for outside our condom distribution sites and his logo emblazoned on our outreach vehicles, we hope this new symbol will do his part to spark conversations and save the day.

Friday, March 26, 2010


We're a non profit in SE DC, located East of the Anacostia River on Pennsylvania Avenue. Our goal: transform our community one project at a time. Our mission: HIV prevention and education through community outreach.

With all the other issues faced by the neighborhoods of SE DC, from high unemployment to homelessness, why is our focus HIV?

At least 3% of DC's population is known to be positive for the virus. But with 25% of Americans having, and spreading, the illness without knowing it, the actual statistic is far higher. Living in the city with the top HIV/AIDS rate in the country, knowing your status and your partner's status is a necessity. And if you test positive, it's vital to get the services you need to stay healthy and prevent transmission.

That's where we come in. Our community has been hardest hit by the epidemic - and has been largely ignored. So we spread the word about this crisis, operating eight mobile testing units and parking them on street corners, in parking lots - anywhere people congregate in our community. And we talk to them about how to prevent transmission and encourage them to get tested - right there, right then. If they test positive, we make sure they get linked to the care and services they need.

And that's just one of our projects.

Each quarter, we train 10-30 recently incarcerated or high-risk individuals to become community health workers as part of our CHAMPS program. The "we" in the last paragraph? Many of our top outreach staff are graduates of this program, giving back to their community and dedicating themselves to saving lives.

Stay tuned for more on what we do and how we do it - and feel free to contact us anytime.