Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando AIDS program a national model

BROOKSVILLE — Decades after HIV exploded onto the American consciousness, the illness remains an off-limit topic in many cultural circles.

"There's much stigma attached to the virus,'' said Lashaundra Ellison, with the Hernando County Health Department. "No one wants to talk about it in Hernando County. It's like the taboo conversation. A lot of people want to advocate (about) the virus, but it's not just accepted here."

Ellison said research indicates that African-Americans are disproportionately affected by HIV as compared with other populations. The causes are multiple, foremost among them poverty levels and health care availability, she said.

To turn that tide, the department last year developed an educational and outreach program that recently earned a prestigious honor, a Model Practice Award, from the National Association of County and City Health Officials.

It was one of 41 such awards given out across the country, first ever for Hernando, Ellison said. The program is being featured on the NACCHO network so that other health agencies can replicate it.

"This award puts the Hernando County Health Department into special company — a select group of health departments that exemplify a forward thinking, proactive attitude toward protecting and promoting the health of communities across the nation,'' the organization noted in a statement.

The Health Department enhanced a video produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and originated educational materials to spread the word to African-American teens about participating in Health Department programs.

The program, dubbed Positively Negative, was launched last year, helped by a grant of $6,800 from the state-funded Area Health Education Center.

"The project was presented at churches and wherever we saw kids gathered," said Ellison.

Objectives of the program met or exceeded health officials' expectations in the following areas:

• The goal was to get 75 African-American teens to participate in a video opportunity teaching abstinence and safer sex; 86 teens took part.

• The goal was a 20 percent increase in the number of targeted teens to take part in clinics at the health department; the increase was 45 percent.

• The goal was to secure letters of commitment from 10 stakeholder groups to help spread word of the program and provide host space for programs.

The groups signing on included: Allen Temple, Holy Band Deliverance Temple, Shallow Problem Solvers, A New Generation, Black Educators Caucus, All-Pro Dads of Brooksville, Jerome Brown Community Center, East Side House of God, Frederick Kelly Elks Lodge and South Brooksville Neighborhood Community Association.

Beth Gray can be contacted at graybethn@eartrhlink.net.

Hernando AIDS program a national model 07/14/11 [Last modified: Thursday, July 14, 2011 7:19pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Harmeling first woman to receive lifetime honor at Sneaker Soiree in Tampa

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — For the last quarter-century, she has combined passion and meticulousness to keep the Gasparilla Distance Classic humming and evolving. Indefatigable and detailed, Susan Harmeling braces for every race-weekend contingency.

    Susan Harmeling gives a speech after accepting an award  during the annual Sneaker Soiree, at TPepin's Hospitality Centre, Thursday, June 22, 2017.
  2. Manslaughter charges eyed in deadly London fire sparked by refrigerator

    World

    LONDON — Manslaughter charges are among the offenses under consideration in the devastating Grenfell Tower blaze that killed 79 people, London police said Friday.

    A view of part of the Burnham residential tower on the Chalcots Estate showing the bottom section of the building after cladding was removed, in the borough of Camden, north London, Thursday, June 22, 2017. Tests so far have found that at least three high-rise apartment buildings in the U.K. have flammable external panels like the ones believed to have contributed to a fire that killed 79 people in London, Britain's government said Thursday. The local council in Camden, a borough of London, removed cladding from one of its buildings for further testing after tests they commissioned showed some of their panels were of the flammable variety "and not the ones they ordered." It was unclear whether the Camden example was one of the three mentioned by the government. [Associated Press]
  3. PolitiFact: 6 questions about the Senate health care bill and transparency

    Perspective

    Now that a Senate health care bill has been unveiled, senators will be jousting over its provisions to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., joined by, from left, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., and Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, speaks following a closed-door strategy session, at the Capitol in Washington on June 20. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
  4. Bicylist critically injured in crash involving SUV on Bayside Bridge

    Accidents

    A bicyclist was critically injured Friday morning when a driver drifted into his lane and struck him on the Bayside Bridge, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

  5. Remnants of Cindy expected to drench Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia (w/video)

    Hurricanes

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Forecasters expect remnants of Tropical Depression Cindy to drench parts of Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia Friday afternoon and evening, bringing heavy rainfall, possible flash flooding and higher river and lake levels through the weekend.

    Wth a rising tide, strong southerly winds from Tropical Depression Cindy lash the lakefront Thursday, June 22, 2017 in Mandeville, La. [David Grunfeld | NOLA.com The Times-Picayune via AP]