Title

HLYASS: A Youth Empowerment Project For Youth Living with and Impacted by HIV.

First Presenter's Institution

SisterLove, Inc.

Second Presenter's Institution

SisterLove, Inc.

Third Presenter's Institution

NA

Fourth Presenter's Institution

NA

Fifth Presenter's Institution

NA

Location

Meet & Greet Poster Reception (Harborside)

Strand #1

Mental & Physical Health

Strand #2

Family & Community

Relevance

Healthy Love Youth Advocates are youth ages 16-25 dedicated to engaging campaigns around Reproductive Justice and Reproductive Health. Healthy Love Youth Advocates are the next generation of leaders equipped with the advocacy skills and knowledge needed to navigate and pursue legislative and bureaucratic changes to advance reproductive justice for all. Through programming, events, legislative actions, and convenings- we empower youth with the skills of self-determination, leadership, and agency around issues of HIV and reproductive health. These directly tie into the 4th and 5th conference strands, Mental and Physical Health and Home.

Brief Program Description

HLYASS, a youth led empowerment project that centers health education, linkage to care, and advocacy as an intervention for youth living with and impacted by HIV. Through yearly programming we empower youth to make informed decisions about their health, their circles of influence, and the policies that affect them. We aim to engage youth ages 16-25 as well as organizations and institutions that uplift and and ignite youth development and change.

Summary

The goal of HLYASS is to equip young people with the power and knowledge to advance reproductive justice policies, educate their peers, and transform their communities. During our annual Labor Day convening, youth from throughout the state of Georgia gathered to learn about safe sex practices, legislative advocacy, leadership skills, and methods of self-care. At HLYASS, youth engage with panelists and participate in workshops that center topics around HIV/AIDS (prevention, treatment, stigma), reproductive health, policy and advocacy, artivism and more! SisterLove, Inc. believes that engaging young people on issues that matter the most to them can lead to conscientious, informed decision making. We give youth the tools they need to learn about issues that impact their lives and help them find solutions to the most pressing issues surrounding HIV/AIDS, housing, reproductive justice, and gender-based violence. Following our summit, youth are engaged and empowered to create advocacy campaigns, obtain needed sexual and reproductive health services at no fee at our organizations, and plan monthly retention activities to keep youth in care.

Evidence

Young people and adolescents, when supported by adults and their community, make well-informed decisions about their bodies and their behaviors. Comprehensive sex education has been proven to reduce adverse health outcomes, such as STI/HIV transmission, unintended pregnancy, and teen dating violence, in youth (Chin, Helen B. et al 2012). HLYASS incorporates comprehensive sex education and facilitates access to sexual and reproductive health services to reduce the incidence of adverse health outcomes on youth. Abstinence only education has proven to be ineffective and unsuccessful. In fact, research shows that abstinence-only curriculum does not decrease pregnancy rates, but rather increase rates (Stanger-Hall KF, Hall DW 2011). Funding for abstinence only education in conservative states not only serves as futile, but also wasteful. For every dollar spent per student on abstinence-only education in conservative states, there was an increase in the number of infants born to adolescent mothers (Fox, Ashley & Himmelstein, Georgia & Khalid, Hina & Howell, Elizabeth (2019). Abstinence only programs for youth and adolescents can negatively impact informed decision-making, personal autonomy, and reproductive agency. HLYASS provides a youth-led and informed approach to curate sexual and reproductive health information in a format that youth can relate with and utilize to safeguard their personal health.

Format

Poster Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Originally, from Saint Louis, MO, Nzingha is an Atlanta transplant who recently completed her Master of Public Health degree at Morehouse School of Medicine with an emphasis in global health, health communications, and reproductive health. Nzingha Thompson-Hall is the Youth Engagement Coordinator at SisterLove, Inc. Nzingha has experience in the abortion care setting as a health educator, counselor, and as a financial coordinator. Nzingha is a professionally trained diversity and inclusion facilitator and conducts presentations and workshops centering around unconscious bias, health literacy, and culturally-competent sexual education. Nzingha is the founder of "This is Black Sex ED!" A multi-media trivia game focusing on pop-culture and reproductive justice through a Black lens. Her passions include youth engagement, women's health, reproductive health equity, and black liberation. Nzingha speaks Mandarin Chinese and Brazilian Portuguese. Nzingha loves traveling, swimming, and is the Headwriter and Co-Producer of "The Panel ATL" podcast.

Antoinette Jones joined SisterLove, Inc. in April of 2018 as a Peer Navigator facilitating access to preventative care and treatment for people living with and at risk for HIV. Antoinette was born positive and was adopted as a baby. Growing up in a serodiscordant family, she often felt alone as a child and without much social support until the age of 18. Her positive experiences growing up were with medical professionals who helped her to manage her health while exhibiting sincere concern and compassion. As a result, she was called to peer advocacy given the negative stigma many others living with HIV face in and outside of care. Antoinette attended Northern Virginia Community College and will resume her education at an Atlanta based college in the near future.

Keyword Descriptors

Comprehensive sex education, adolescent, HIV/AIDS, unintended pregnancy, policy, advocacy, health outcomes, community.

Presentation Year

March 2020

Start Date

3-9-2020 4:45 PM

End Date

3-9-2020 6:00 PM

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Mar 9th, 4:45 PM Mar 9th, 6:00 PM

HLYASS: A Youth Empowerment Project For Youth Living with and Impacted by HIV.

Meet & Greet Poster Reception (Harborside)

HLYASS, a youth led empowerment project that centers health education, linkage to care, and advocacy as an intervention for youth living with and impacted by HIV. Through yearly programming we empower youth to make informed decisions about their health, their circles of influence, and the policies that affect them. We aim to engage youth ages 16-25 as well as organizations and institutions that uplift and and ignite youth development and change.