We have launched our new program called Project O.W.N.I.T. ® (Options for Wellness Now & Info on Testing & Treatment) HIV prevention project. This 5- year Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) project, for $2.15 million will enable the Community Wellness Project (CWP) to take high-impact HIV/STD testing and prevention into the hardest-hit St. Louis Metropolitan area neighborhoods and communities. The grant is part of the CDC’s $216 million project to reduce new infections, increase access to care, and promote health equity. African Americans in the bi-state St. Louis area shoulder the greatest HIV disease burden of all racial/ethnic groups and account for the greatest number of new infections, with young Black gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men most impacted sub-population groups. According to Missouri and Illinois jurisdictional HIV prevention plans, Black gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men and high-risk heterosexual women are the area’s highest priority target populations. In order to address the assessed HIV prevention needs of these two Black/African American sub-population groups, the Community Wellness Project, a 501c3 health promotion and disease prevention organization has employed a “serostatus approach” for the proposed 5-year Project Options for Wellness Info on Testing & Treatment (O.W.N.I.T.) that is designed to effectively reduce target population members’ risk of acquiring or transmitting HIV infection.
CATEGORY A—Black/African American gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (BMSM) of unknown serostatus, ages 18 and older in the St. Louis MSA.
CWP’s overarching annual objectives for the Options for Wellness Now & Info on Testing & Treatment Project are to:
- Identify and provide targeted HIV testing and appropriate integrated STD screenings to 600 BMSM ; and integrated STD screenings to 300 BMSM in the bi-state area using population-segmented, locally- and culturally-appropriate outreach, recruitment, and social marketing strategies;
- Identify 8 or more previously unrecognized HIV infections;
- Link or re-link at least 4 HIV-positive and high-risk negative individuals into HIV/STD medical care and essential support services;
- Provide peer navigation and support services for at least 12 HIV-positive and very high-risk negative individuals; and
- Deliver the HIP intervention D-Up! Defend Yourself! to 30 BMSM. Project activities will be implemented in three MSA counties—St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Clair County—to support the agency’s proposed comprehensive high-impact HIV prevention program strategies and services.
Overall project success will be measured by demonstrated outcomes: increases in provision of prevention information, HIV testing, offerings of condoms, linkages to HIV/STD medical care, adherence to HIV treatment, prevention and essential support services; individual knowledge of HIV status; awareness of personal HIV/STD infection risk; and the number of individuals who adopt/sustain individual HIV/STD risk reduction behaviors (i.e., nPEP, PrEP).
Strategies and activities include:
- HIV Testing Interventions: CTRS, Testing Together, Social Network Strategies , Personalized Cognitive Counseling.
- Linkage to Care: ARTAS as part of a need-based, case-managed, individually-tailored peer- navigation and support service program for newly/previously-identified Positives and very high-risk Negatives
- HIV Prevention with Positives: d-Up! Defend Yourself
HIV Prevention with Negatives: d-Up! Defend Yourself
- Components Program Promotion, Outreach and Recruitment
- Targeted HIV Testing
- Linkage to Care
- HIV Prevention for HIV-Positive Persons
- HIV Prevention for High-Risk HIV-Negative Persons
- Condom Distribution
- HIV and Organizational Planning