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Since its humble beginnings in 1995, Brotherhood, Incorporated has served the African American and other communities of color in the New Orleans Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), and continues to advocate for increased HIV/AIDS funding and services for those at greatest risk for contracting the disease. Brotherhood provides services to those infected and affected by the disease, but more importantly, educates the whole community about HIV/AIDS. The organization is known for advocating for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and queer community, specifically African American men who have sex with men (MSM) and male-to-female transgender women. Brotherhood partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide HIV/AIDS related services and prevention education to the “forgotten ones” and others at greatest riskincluding persons living with HIV/AIDS, and African American high-risk heterosexual males and females.
Brotherhood’s mission is to develop and implement programs and services that impact the economic, social, and health disparities that exist within underserved and at risk communities through education, enlightenment, and empowerment. As an organization committed to HIV/AIDS prevention and education, Brotherhood’s vision is to work collaboratively with communities of color, scientific researchers, universities, and community partners to create healthy communities that care.
Primarily funded by the CDC, Brotherhood also receives funding from the Louisiana Office of Public Health and the City of New Orleans. Locally, the agency has partnerships with other AIDS service organizations, city and state planning councils, youth organizations, college fraternities, and local nightclubs/bar establishments. Brotherhood proudly collaborates with Xavier University Health Services Center, African & African Diaspora Studies at Tulane University, and the University of New Orleans. The agency also works with the New Orleans Public Schools to provide HIV/STD 101 training.
Brotherhood’s direct services include:
- Free, anonymous and confidential HIV Counseling, Testing, and Referral (CTR) services.
- Many Men, Many Voices (3MV), a behavioral intervention for African American MSM.
- Comprehensive Risk Counseling Services (CRCS), case management services for persons living with or at high risk for HIV.
- A safe space and resource center (MyHOUSE) for young, African American MSM ages 13 to 24, which provides a computerized resource center and offers various training services.
- Transitional housing in a group home setting for individuals living with HIV/AIDS.
- Independent housing for persons living with HIV/AIDS and/or individuals with an income at or below the median poverty guidelines.
- Free HIV/AIDS 101 workshops, various group sessions for African American MSM ages 13 and up, social activities, and other community events.
In addition, Brotherhood receives funding to collect outcome monitoring and evaluation data for 3MV. Furthermore, the agency provides capacity-building assistance to other AIDS service organizations and community based organizations across the state of Louisiana, such as Cultural Sensitivity and Disaster Preparedness.
HIV/AIDS affects African Americans in the South more than in any other area of the country, especially among men who have sex with both men and women. Among African American women in Louisiana, high-risk heterosexual activity is the leading exposure category, while MSM is the highest exposure category among African American males (Louisiana HIV/AIDS Surveillance Program, 2009). Therefore, agency staff members are in the trenches and fighting to win this war on HIV/AIDS. As this battle wages on, program staff use innovative and various recruitment initiatives to bring awareness, such as Refer-a-Friend, CTR testing parties, Facebook, and the B-Unit mobile van to save lives, one client at a time. In 2009 alone, the agency tested over 500 African Americans, and 3% were newly diagnosed with HIV.
In 2008, Brotherhood was one of three organizations across the nation funded to monitor and evaluate Many Men, Many Voices (3MV), a Diffusion of Effective Behavioral Interventions (DEBI) group level intervention for African American men who have sex with men. The A.M.E.R.I.C.A.N. Youth Project (African American Males Educating and Reaching Individuals of Color to Achieve Now!) is an evaluation project that assesses changes in client behavior and factors associated with changes by monitoring self-reported risk behaviors before participating in 3MV (baseline), and after participating in 3MV sessions at 3- and 6-month interval follow-up interviews. The information gathered, including process monitoring data, will be used to better understand intervention effectiveness and improve HIV prevention planning among MSM of color.
Within the first nine months of the A.M.E.R.I.C.A.N. Youth Project, the program reached 62% of its total 24-month goal. This accomplishment was a direct result of the intensive outreach activities and awareness campaigns conducted in the target population’s loci. During outreach initiatives, program staff set up prevention tables throughout the venue to engage and recruit clients. These campaigns include using technology to creatively stimulate dialogue with potential clients and create meaningful awareness campaigns.
During the first year, Brotherhood encountered several findings that significantly influenced and contributed to the success of the agency’s programs. As a result of the synergistic work between the A.M.E.R.I.C.A.N. Youth Project and other agency programs, Brotherhood experienced increases in:
- Client consent to HIV CTR services and confirmatory testing.
- The agency’s seropositive rate and linkage to care.
- Clients accessing MyHOUSE resources.
- Access to transportation to participate in program activities.
- The Refer-a-Friend (CTR testing) and Bring-a-Friend (3MV) social marketing campaigns.
- New clients participating and completing Many Men, Many Voices Intervention.
- Community awareness of agency and project activities.
- Client’s acceptance of safer sex kits and discussions of proper/consistent usage.
4032 Canal Street, Suite C-1A
New Orleans, LA 70119
Mark E. Johnson
Founder & Executive Director
Chentrell M. Williams
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