Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health (UIC SPH) received a five-year, $1.2 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to increase capacity to provide HIV/STI prevention and substance use services to young African American women.
The grant will allow the Community Outreach Intervention Projects (COIP), a community-based organization within UIC SPH, to increase the availability and accessibility of education and awareness programs, HIV testing and counseling, and evidence-based practices for behavioral and substance use risk reduction, thereby increasing the number of young African American women who are screened, tested, linked to care, and offered brief substance use and sexual risk reduction programs.
COIP expects to serve 300 new young African American women between the ages of 13-24 residing in Chicago’s West, South and Southeast sides. The communities targeted have the highest rates of HIV infection in Illinois, with disproportionate disease prevalence, high poverty, and limited access to and availability of HIV prevention and substance abuse services to address resident needs.
“This is a population that is hard to reach, as a lot of disparities exist for these young women. With this grant, we have an opportunity to understand how these factors impact risk, as well as test interventions that might reduce their risk. We can then get a handle on how to provide these services most effectively where they’re needed most,” explained Dr. Geri Donenberg, professor of medicine, associate dean of research at SPH and director of COIP and the Healthy Youths Program.
Dr. Donenberg is principal investigator on the grant, and Dr. Faith Fletcher, assistant professor in community health sciences, along with Dr. Anna Hotton, adjunct assistant professor in epidemiology and biostatistics, are co-investigators.