Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sign on to Keep the Momentum of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy

We invite your organization to endorse the sign on statement below. One year into the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, the statement reaffirms support for the goals of the Strategy and lays out some principles we think are important to success. If your organization would like to endorse this statement, please contact Kate at kate.goertzen@amfar.org

Keep the Momentum of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy

The National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) has become a catalyst for progressive change that has already begun to improve the United States' approach to ending our HIV epidemic. We strongly support NHAS goals to lower the rate of new HIV infections, improve access to care and care outcomes, and reduce health disparities in the epidemic. People across the country are responding to the Strategy's vision of a more effective, equitable and outcomes-oriented response to AIDS.

Achieving the NHAS goals will require that all of us take a fresh look at how resources are allocated and the kinds of services supported, and make difficult decisions about future efforts. It will take concerted action by federal, state, and local government, health care providers, community organizations, the private sector, and people living with and affected by HIV. We must develop a response to AIDS that does better at addressing the challenges where they are most acute, but that also improves outcomes for every group affected by the epidemic no matter where they reside.

We are at a pivotal moment in tackling the domestic epidemic. New research demonstrating the HIV prevention impact of AIDS treatment provides additional reasons to coordinate services and bring to scale our efforts, and emboldens our belief that we can achieve dramatic progress against the epidemic.

To take advantage of this opportunity, and to sustain the momentum in achieving NHAS goals, the following principles are essential:

· Increased resources are needed, and we also must do better to ensure that current resources are used for maximum impact.

· All those who need AIDS treatment must have access. The AIDS Drug Assistance Program must be fully funded.

· Federal agencies need to become more outcomes-oriented and reduce the burden on local and state agencies by streamlining reporting requirements and funding streams, and demonstrating true cross-agency collaboration.

· A new model of integrated service provision is critical to success, emphasizing the connections between testing, prevention, linkage to care and treatment, and seeking community-level results and measurable outcomes. This model must include addressing unmet needs for housing and substance abuse and mental health services.

· Tools for evidence-based decision making, such as economic modeling and creative use of surveillance data that maintains confidentiality can increase the impact of our efforts.

· The "12 Cities" initiative can improve outcomes in epicenters, be a driver of health services reform, and develop adaptable models to be used elsewhere, but success requires ongoing funding, and increased coordination and accountability at the local, state and federal levels. Additional attention is also needed in areas outside of these 12 cities, including those experiencing alarming growth in HIV incidence.

· The NHAS is strengthened by authentic community engagement, and this engagement requires transparency about 12 Cities and other local and state strategies and plans.

· Recipients of federal funds must be held accountable for dedicating resources to geographic areas and communities according to their epidemic profile.

· Health departments, community organizations, and private providers need advanced levels of technical support to transition to integrated models of prevention and care service provision and community-level interventions.

We ask federal agencies to embrace and take action consistent with the principles above. We also know that the success of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy depends on all of us. Policy makers, people on the front lines, and everyone engaged, must work together, reassess how we can have the greatest impact, and rededicate ourselves toending AIDS in America.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Is there a vaccine for HIV? No, but there could be with your help...

As a NHVREI Network member, we understand the critical role that HIV vaccine development plays in reducing the spread of the epidemic and to ultimately prevent new infections. Our work, as our name suggests, is focused on the community-wide response to the epidemic and we understand, and public health history has shown, that a vaccine will likely be the most powerful tool to use against the spread of the virus. We hope to increase our community’s literacy and exposure to HIV vaccine research through updating our current literature on the topic.

Download the pocket sized vaccine brochure HERE

Thursday, March 10, 2011

CEG Recognizes National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

“Why observe National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day? HIV/AIDS is a serious public health issue affecting nearly 280,000 women in the United States. While men account for most HIV/AIDS cases, the impact on women is growing. In addition, research shows that, when compared to men, women face gaps in access and care.” (http://www.womenshealth.gov/nwghaad/about/)

As today marks the recognition of National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, Community Education Group observes the day in part with its annual fundraising event to support the organization’s initiatives to raise awareness of its impact on women and girls. “It’s Time for Action” Bingo Night will raise much needed funds to support CEG’s women’s programs including CHAMPS and SISTA.

The SISTA program at CEG is a CDC approved intervention that is for black women. It is a HIV prevention program talking about general HIV knowledge, condom use and negotiation skills, assertive communication skills, and gender/ethnic pride discussions. CEG currently sees 40 women a year in their SISTA program.

CEG’s “CHAMPS” training program recruits, trains and hires individuals to conduct HIV counseling testing and outreach services. CHAMPS are enrolled in 375 classroom training program and field practicum hours. Participants in the CHAMPS training program receive training in HIV certification and Outreach methods, as well as training in several HIV prevention interventions. Through the CHAMPS program Community Education Group seeks to create both employment opportunities and to increase the number of new voices in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

For more information about National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and “It’s Time for Action” Bingo Night or CEG’s initiatives please go to:




Thursday, February 10, 2011

Join Community Education Group for "It's Time for Action" Bingo Night

Thursday, March 10, 2011
7:00 PM - 10:00 PM
American Legion - Post 8 Event Hall
224 D Street SE
Washington, DC 20003
Join Community Education Group (CEG) for a fun night of bingo, BBQ and prizes. Come mix with supporters, mingle with CEG staff and meet our celebrity bingo callers!
Every year on March 10th, CEG and our Founder, A. Toni Young, lead a nationwide effort to spread the word about the increasing impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls. Help us build awareness and raise much needed funds for CEG’s women’s programs including CHAMPS and SISTA.

Bingo Night Details
• Event starts at 7:00pm and ends at 10:00pm
• Bingo will begin promptly at 7:15pm
• Limited on street parking is available
• Metro is strongly encouraged. The American Legion - Post 8 Event Hall is a three block walk from the Capitol South station (Blue/Orange lines).
• Cash bar
• Note: For the convenience and efficiency of online purchase, tickets will have surcharges for service fees.

It’s Time for Action Right Here at Home!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Meet the Staff Series at CEG-Hilary Viens

Hilary Viens – Director of Programs and Operations

Hilary Viens is the next staff member to be highlighted. Viens, like her colleagues in her office, is clearly passionate about the work she does in the DC community. Before beginning the interview, Viens wanted to express her sentiment toward CEG this way:

“The staff of Community Education Group is an amazing team, capable of making significant changes in the Wards 7 and 8 communities, with an unparalleled amount of dedication and commitment to their community. The transformations I have witnessed in staff have been profound and will forever change who I am.”

Viens has served at CEG since July 2007. She is currently the Manager of Programs and Operations. She is responsible for the daily oversight of CEG. She cites her tasks as managing all federal and foundation grants, securing funding to implement programming through Toni's vision, and supervising the Manager of Testing and Field Operations, Program Associate, and Linkage team.

When asked to consider the impact she would like to make with CEG she cited her desire for her work with CEG “to help create community level change and draw attention to an area of the city that is in significant need of resources and support.” Furthermore Viens was asked to describe two of her greatest accomplishments. “Personally, I believe being able to integrate and become part of the CEG family has been a huge accomplishment. I am a white woman among a predominantly Black staff that serves the Black community, a community I was not raised in, but have developed strong connections to. Professionally, I think my greatest accomplishment relates to being able to secure funding for CEG to implement innovative and effective programs around HIV and other health disparities in Wards 7 and 8.”

Viens states that she stands out from others by “having a soft exterior and a hard interior. I feel like I am a bridge between "the big picture" and the implementation of services at CEG.”

In her free time, Viens enjoys photography, children, her dog scout, knitting, and indie and hip-hop music. And finally, she feels strongly about enjoying her peanut butter “SMOOTH.”

Meet the Staff at CEG Series- Kehinde Hall

Kehinde Hall – Community Liaison

The first thing you notice when meeting Kehinde Hall is his big smile. He is truly an amazing person who has really turned his life around and has inspired the community he works with. Hall through his great energy and personality makes a positive impact with CEG to help fight the battle against HIV/AIDS.

1. What is your role at CEG?

My role here at CEG is community liaison. I have been here for 2 years. Basically, I recruit and establish relationships with various barber shops, beauty salons, and nonprofit community based organizations (CBO) so CEG can distribute condoms there. Also, I make relationships at various venues and sites for testing events. Lot of the places I work with is located in ward 7 and 8 where there is a high rate of HIV. Being from ward 7, I know lot of the people there so it’s much easier to establish relationships with the community since they are comfortable with me already.

2. What do you hope to achieve at CEG?

I hope to bring more awareness to the community about HIV prevention. Also, to break down the barriers and the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS. I think it’s also important for people to get tested and know their status and for people to wear condoms.

3. Tell me your greatest accomplishment as it relates to CEG or otherwise?

The transition from a criminal lifestyle to being an upstanding citizen!

4. What made you choose this work at CEG?

I got with CEG because of a good friend I knew here that got me the job. Once I started here, I ended up liking the job because I was giving back to the community that I once took from. It makes me feel better about who I am and what I represent.

5. What makes you stand out from others?

I’m a left hander! Also, I’m not afraid of a challenge. If someone thinks I can’t do something or if it’s too difficult, I always welcome the challenge.

6. What are your hobbies?

Watching football, the Redskins are my team. I also enjoy swimming and all types of exercise.

7. How do you like your peanut butter smooth or chunky?


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Meet the Staff at CEG Series- Terrence Young

Terrence Young - Manager of Testing and Field Operations

After sitting down with Terrance Young it was easy to see within minutes that he loves what he does and makes a huge impact in the lives of so many. He is very passionate and dedicated toward his work.

Young has been with Community Education Group for six years as the Manager of Testing and Field Operations. He described his role this way:

“I coordinate all testing outreach activities, establish relationships with linkage providers and coordinate testing events”.

Young has experienced many of the successes CEG has had over the years. He describes his own achievements with aspiration to continue to make an impact in the city.

“I hope to develop and implement programs that affect the many health and social disparities that affect community members in Wards 7 and 8 of the District in a positive way and increase the quality of life of individuals living with and affected by HIV and other disparities that disproportionately affect African Americans.”

However he states that his greatest personal accomplishment was “turning my life around and becoming a contributing member of society and being a father to my son”.

With such capacity to be an agent of change Young cites that CEG chose him and he “grew to love the opportunity to give back to the community that he was raised in a productive fashion”.

As far as standing out from others, Young describes himself as a leader. He goes on to say that “I don’t have a problem expressing myself even when I am not in the majority”. This is truly important as he finds that he is often in a position to come to the aid of others by spreading knowledge of HIV/AIDS prevention.

In his leisure time, Young enjoys “anything related to sports”. His favorite football team is the Dallas Cowboys. Young is also very athletic having played basketball, football, and baseball. “I’m super competitive in anything”.

Finally for fun I asked how do you like your peanut butter and his response was “all the way chunky”.

Meet the Staff at CEG Series - J'Mia Edwards

J'Mia Edwards - HIV counselor and tester

When first meeting J’Mia Edwards you see her as someone who is very bubbly, full of personality and laughter. By the end of the interview though, you learn that she is someone who is also deeply passionate and committed to the HIV work she does here at CEG. J'Mia was also featured in "The Other City" documentary, check it out if you have not seen it yet!

1. What is your role at CEG?

My role at CEG is being a HIV counselor and tester. I conduct field and venue based testing to individuals who reside in ward 7 and 8 of DC. I also conduct HIV 101 sessions and female condom demonstrations.

2. What do you hope to achieve at CEG?

I hope to achieve educating community members about HIV awareness and learning how to prevent people from getting infected with STDs or HIV.

3. Tell me your greatest accomplishment as it relates to CEG or otherwise?

My greatest accomplishment with CEG is I have learned how to listen from both sides meaning the corporate side and field side- field side meaning the clients that we work with at CEG. Also, another accomplishment is I learned how the system is set up like how the funding goes, how it is divided up, and how much the client gets.
Outside of CEG my greatest accomplishment, I was featured in “The Other City”.

4. What makes you stand out from others?

What makes me stand out from others is that before I became a tester/counselor, I was a client going through some of the same issues our clients at CEG now go through. So I can really relate with the people that I interact with in some aspects like homelessness, poverty, the need for food, single parent homes, and the lack of education.

5. What are your hobbies?

Reading and spending time with my kids.

6. How do you like your peanut butter smooth or chunky?

SMOOOTH, it’s the best!