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.
BASIC NWFL, Inc., was founded on World AIDS Day in 1989 by a small group of dedicated volunteers who felt a need for an HIV/AIDS service agency in the central panhandle area of north Florida. These volunteers included a number of gay men, individuals who worked at the Bay County Health Department, and other concerned residents who watched as the HIV/AIDS epidemic increasingly gained strength across the nation and the first cases were reported locally. The volunteers received guidance and assistance from advocates at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and BASIC was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization by Florida on December 1, 1989.
After incorporation, BASIC functioned primarily as a volunteer agency, providing support and referral to persons living with HIV/AIDS and their families. BASIC also extensively cooperated with Big Bend Cares in Tallahassee, Florida, who was the lead agency for Ryan White Title II funds for the entire panhandle region of north Florida. Under this cooperative agreement, HIV-positive persons in the central panhandle were provided medical care and other psychosocial support services through Ryan White funding. In December 1995, a Minority AIDS Prevention Initiative/Health Education Risk Reduction contract with the Florida Department of Health afforded BASIC the means and the rationale to hire two African American outreach educators to provide prevention services. Initially, these prevention services targeted African American residents of Bay County, but beginning in 1996, services were expanded to five surrounding counties that now collectively form Area 2A in north Florida.
Thus, after 19 years, BASIC has grown from very simple grassroots beginnings to become a comprehensive provider of both HIV/AIDS care and treatment and prevention services in north Florida. Likewise, it is a respected partner with other organizations in continuing to address the epidemic while daily living out its motto of "Compassion without Judgment."
In 2004, BASIC was funded by CDC to provide a program called Partners in Prevention. Under this program, BASIC directly provides two scientifically proven interventions—Sisters Informing Sisters about Topics on AIDS (SISTA) and Video Opportunities for Innovative Condom Use and Safer Sex (VOICES)—to African Americans at very high risk for HIV in six counties of north Florida. As a complement, BASIC also subcontracts with Big Bend Cares in Tallahassee to provide Healthy Relationships—a skills-building program for men and women living with HIV/AIDS—to HIV-positive residents in an eight-county area east of Panama City. Providing these services also allowed BASIC to be funded under separate funding initiatives for long-term outcomes monitoring of both Healthy Relationships, a project completed in 2008, and SISTA, which will be completed in 2010.
What has made SISTA and VOICES unique has been BASIC's use of community gatekeepers as the primary entry into the African American community; its policy of using staff drawn from the African American community and with strong ties to the community; and its ever-evolving use of targeting venues where the target population can be found most often. While these approaches do not seem extremely unique, the combination has produced a strong tie of trust between BASIC's outreach specialists and the community. This trust has resulted in several concrete accomplishments. BASIC has an enviable retention rate (more than 95%) for program participants over the course of the SISTA intervention and at 2- and 4-month follow-up. BASIC has an active target population advisory board that meets regularly to assist in refining the program. BASIC has planted the seeds among the SISTA women, who now want programs targeting their children as well as their spouses. BASIC has retained these ties beyond the women's graduation from SISTA through the use of block parties and graduate reunions as well as their participation on the advisory task force. BASIC lives and works by its motto, "Compassion without Judgment."
BASIC NWFL, Inc.
P.O. Box 805
432 Magnolia Avenue
Panama City, FL 32402
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