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December 16, 2009 > Kaiser Permanente encourages HIV/AIDS testing among young people

Kaiser Permanente encourages HIV/AIDS testing among young people

Submitted By Johnny Ng

Kaiser Permanente has awarded more than $500,000 in Community Benefit grants to seven northern California organizations to increase HIV testing and counseling among youth - particularly African-American and Latino youth aged 15-24. This goal is to prevent new HIV/AIDS infections in populations disproportionately affected by the epidemic and reduce health disparities.

The grants were made in advance of World AIDS Day (December 1). Seven organizations, in communities with the highest incidence rate for HIV and AIDS in northern California, received one-year, Community Benefit grants up to $75,000.

"These grants are part of our long-standing commitment to prevention and reducing health disparities," said Yvette Radford, Kaiser Permanente's Regional VP, External & Community Affairs. "They're also an example of how we're responding to increased community needs during these uncertain economic times."

Kaiser Permanente is focusing support for organizations that provide HIV testing among youth of color based on research from the Centers for Disease Control that shows racial and ethnic minorities represent 70 percent of new AIDS cases; a third of new infections occur in people under 30; and more than 20 percent of those infected with HIV are unaware of their status.

"HIV/AIDS education is a crucial component of awareness and prevention," said Daniel Klein, MD, Kaiser Permanente chief of infectious diseases in southern Alameda County. "The grants play an important role in increasing HIV/AIDS education in our local communities."

Organizations were selected for their abilities to provide screening to the targeted population and to connect clients with HIV/AIDS support services - education to help clients stay HIV-negative and case-management for those who test positive.

The San Francisco AIDS Foundation will use its grant to expand rapid HIV/RNA testing services, targeting 18-24 year-old men.

The Asian and Pacific Islander Wellness Center, also in San Francisco, plans to increase outreach to African-American and Latino males and transgender youth.

In Oakland, the grant will help the HIV Education and Prevention Project of Alameda County run a peer-driven testing and education program connecting HIV-positive youth and young adults directly to care and treatment.

Planned Parenthood Shasta-Diablo will use their grant to test at least 3,300 youth in Antioch, Richmond, Vallejo and Walnut Creek through unique placement in school health centers and express sites and clinics.

The Tri-City Health Center, serving Fremont, Hayward and Livermore, will expand its field HIV testing program to reach young people in places such as clubs and motels.

In Santa Clara County, Asian-Americans for Community Involvement will increase outreach and testing through partnerships with city colleges, homeless shelters and substance abuse programs.

The Center for AIDS Research, Education and Services, Sacramento, will use its grant to reach 10,000 young people, including an expansion of their youth-oriented Think Twice social marketing campaign.

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