YWCHAC - Press Profile
2011 Union Square Award Recipient116-51 224th Street
Cambria Heights, NY 11411
Media Contacts: Claire Simon, Co-Founder and Co-Director
The Young Women of Color HIV/AIDS Coalition (YWCHAC) has brought attention to the rapidly rising HIV infection rates among women of color and created a dynamic network of organizations working on HIV/AIDS prevention and education. YWCHAC is “an organization for, and of, young women of color that fosters their development in organizing and advocacy skills while supporting them to make healthy life choices and maximizing their human potential to change the climate in which decisions about them are being made.”
WE SPEAK- “Women Empowered Support Protect Educate Advocate and Know,” articulates the health needs of young women of color who bring critical health information to their peers through “safer sex education parties” that feature contemporary music dancing, HIV/AIDS prevention information, HIV testing, confidential counseling, and educational materials from youth-serving agencies. The approach has successfully attracted more than 5,100 young people since its inception in 2006.
YWCHAC’s quarterly meetings bring together representatives of youth serving agencies and HIV/AIDS prevention programs to emphasize the importance of partnerships. The meetings offer up-to-date information about both the HIV/AIDS and youth development fields. Knowledge sharing includes best practices and lessons learned and raises awareness that in turn impacts programming, policy recommendations, and funding priorities.
YWCHAC has also begun a mapping project that identifies the highest number and rates of women and girls living with HIV/AIDS by zip codes. It shows that women of color continue to become infected at alarming rates, and YWCHAC believes that if these young women had received the mandated sex health education in school, numbers would decrease. Members are meeting with local officials and the New York City Department of Health to promote health education in the public schools.