Thanks to the Adolescent Initiative (AI) at CHOP, last year more than 160 youth infected with HIV received care, and 3,000 Philadelphia teens received education and case management services in order to prevent new HIV infections.
AI maximized its reach through partnerships with the City of Philadelphia AIDS Activities Coordinating Office, the City of Philadelphia Health Center 1, Covenant House Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Juvenile Justice Services Center, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department, Philadelphia Youth Network Orientations, Philadelphia FIGHT, and others.
Lambda Legal, the oldest and largest national legal organization dedicated to the civil rights of the LGBTQ community and those living with HIV, recognized AI at its annual Philadelphia event in 2015. Special recognition was given to the program’s work with incarcerated youth.
In 2015, the AI program upgraded the technology it used for rapid point-of-care testing to the newest available, which requires only a finger-stick and provides results in 60 seconds. The test reduced anxiety for youth waiting for test results and increased the reliability of results.
AI partnered with Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Centers, which served as HIV testing sites. With support from the Adolescent Trials Network and National Institute for Minority Health, monthly HIV testing began at three South Philadelphia rec centers. Staff also provided sexual health information.
AI continued its participation in Hip Hop Philly, an education, awareness and testing outreach program. Youth who got free testing for HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) received a ticket to attend a popular hip-hop concert featuring Wale. More than 800 youth participated.
In a partnership with Philadelphia Health Center 1, AI implemented a program that uses texting to encourage youth to anonymously ask questions they may be scared to ask their regular healthcare providers and get straightforward answers and meet with case managers.
The iknowushould2.com campaign, created by CHOP in 2013, continues to be a resource for youth to learn about STIs and where they can get free testing.