Currents of Change Winner CCEP Engages Richmond in HIV Education and Awareness
African American men and women across the United States are disproportionately impacted by the ongoing HIV health crisis in America. Although African Americans make up only 13% of the overall population, they represent 40% of all people living with HIV, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Black adolescents and young adults between the ages of 13 and 24 are particularly at risk for contracting HIV, and represent over half of new infections. The high prevalence of HIV among African Americans is due to several intersecting factors including socioeconomic factors, cultural stigmatization, and high rates of sexually transmitted infections, according to the CDC.
“We know that these disparities are happening because of a lot of sociocultural factors. In most cases it’s not increased risky or irresponsible behavior on the part of individuals, it’s often linked to socio-environmental determinants of behavior,” said Dr. Faye Belgrave, University Professor of psychology at VCU.
Belgrave is the founding director of the VCU Center for Cultural Experiences in Prevention (CCEP), a center which works with local community-based organizations to reduce health disparities among African American and other minority populations. The center was established in 2001 to conduct research and provide innovative, evidence-based programs and interventions to reduce health disparities and promote healthy youth, families, and community.
CCEP is a 2017 Currents of Change award winner for Exemplary Partnership in Research.