The CDC NPIN Featured Partner resource offers HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis, STD, and TB prevention-focused organizations a platform to showcase their services, programs, and materials. Our goal is to highlight the work of CDC's prevention partners and encourage partners to connect with each other to share information and strategies. Organizations are nominated by CDC or their peers, or are self-nominated. Those selected are featured on the NPIN Web site for the month.
Guiding Right, Inc. (GRI) was founded in 1998 and incorporated in 1999 as a grassroots response to the disproportionate impact HIV/AIDS was having on Oklahoma City's African American community. In Oklahoma, African Americans account for 24% of AIDS cases despite representing just 8% of the total population. African Americans also account for 34% of the state's HIV infections. Since its founding, GRI has become an organization with full- and part-time staff of 20 and nearly 25 volunteers contributing their time and talents to the cause of fighting against the spread of HIV/AIDS among African Americans residing in Oklahoma.
The mission of GRI is to promote and provide culturally appropriate education and life skills training to persons of all ages to decrease social, economic, and health disparities, including HIV/AIDS, for high risk populations with special emphasis on women, African Americans, and youth within Oklahoma City's Metropolitan Statistical Area which includes six counties.
GRI offers the following HIV/STD services: HIV Counseling and Testing, Syphilis Screening, Comprehensive Risk Counseling and Services (HIV+), HOPWA (Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS), and prevention programs including Many Men, Many Voices; SISTA (Sisters Informing Sisters on Topics about AIDS); VOICES/VOCES.
Other services include:
- Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
- Support Groups
- Reentry Services
- Health Education
- Employment Services
Services are tailored to African Americans at high-risk for HIV infection and/or already living with HIV/AIDS, but are available to clients of all genders and gender identities, sexual orientations, ages, and ethnicities. GRI provides its services free of charge to thousands of people every year. GRI staff members are regarded as advocates for the overall health of the community.
As Guiding Right, Inc. continues to have a vivid presence in the African American community, one of its basic organizational premises is to continue providing comprehensive HIV/AIDS and other STD services to those most at risk for infection.
In 2003, Guiding Right, Inc. was selected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be one of only sixteen community-based organizations in the United States to participate and pilot the SISTA Project. African American women in the Oklahoma City area are at risk for acquiring HIV due to multiple reasons. In Oklahoma, male-to-female transmission is much more likely than female-to-female or female-to-male transmission. There are substantially more men than women in Oklahoma who are infected with HIV, which increases the likelihood that heterosexual women in this population will encounter an infected sex partner; therefore, the delivery and facilitation of SISTA is most appropriate. As the HIV epidemic resides primarily in Oklahoma's African American communities, this empowering intervention helps to change behaviors and norms amongst participants.
GRI SISTA staff has developed a SISTA advisory board, which consists of members from the target population, not only as a vehicle to be involved in the decision-making process but to solicit feedback, ascertain information on the effectiveness of program delivery, and accomplish intended outcomes. Along with GRI SISTA staff, the advisory board members assist with recruitment of potential participants. GRI believes in program collaboration and service integration, and SISTA participants have been referred internally for HIV counseling and testing sessions, Comprehensive Risk Counseling Services, and WIC.
GRI's location has proven an ideal setting for the SISTA intervention. However, GRI's SISTA staff understands the importance of offering services and meeting clients where they are; therefore, SISTA has been facilitated in various community settings including: apartment complexes, beauty salons, college/university campuses, homeless shelters, and community centers.
Oklahoma leads the nation in the rate of female offender incarceration at 139 per 100,000. Since 2006, GRI has facilitated the SISTA Project to incarcerated African American women housed at Hillside Correctional Center. In the past two years, over 150 incarcerated African American women have successfully completed the SISTA program. The SISTA program offers the incarcerated African American women a platform to speak about their issues surrounding HIV/AIDS, sexual assertion skills, and apprehensions when it comes to communicating with their partners about sex and condom usage. The program also increases self esteem among the women. Due to their environment, it is not often they are given an opportunity to express themselves through dress or hair so one activity in the first session is to make a collage of things (clothes, cars, houses) they would like for themselves. Overall, the program provides incarcerated and newly released African American women with the necessary tools to help decrease their risk for HIV/AIDS and recognize risk factors that may have put them at risk prior to participating in the SISTA program.
Contact the NPIN Outreach Team for more information on Featured Partner nominations—firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit the Featured Partner Archive to learn about other Featured Partners.