Project Alpha, one of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.’s national programs for its chapters focusing on mentoring and sexual health education for young boys and girls, is strengthening its sexual health curriculum and efforts to combat rising STIs thanks to its ongoing partnership with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), through its Black Leadership AIDS Crisis Coalition (BLACC).
In 2019, the fraternity established a multi-year national partnership with AHF, the world’s largest nonprofit public health organization leading the charge in addressing the global STI epidemic, but the COVID-19 pandemic sidelined much of the fraternity’s efforts and AHF’s Black Leadership AIDS Crisis Coalition’s (BLACC) support. Alpha Phi Alpha and AHF have extended their partnership to fulfill their commitment to improve capacity, establish best practices in providing resources for these programs as well as gathering data to improve Project Alpha’s efforts in communities with high rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
"I am grateful for the continued support of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation to help increase Project Alpha’s capacity and modernize its sexual health curriculum," said Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. General President Willis L. Lonzer, III, Ph.D. "With the recent historic appointment of the fraternity’s first-ever Surgeon General, Brother Jeffrey Sterling, MD, MPH, FACEP, this effort is especially timely since the Fraternity is now ushering in a new paradigm that focuses on not only improving the health of our Brotherhood, but also those whom we serve through our programs."
Through the end of 2022, alumni chapters are expected to partner with their mentoring college chapters as well as participate in at least two events, including collaborating with AHF’s BLACC initiative events, to receive $1,000 in the following communities:
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Los Angeles, CA
Events include, but are not limited to, National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day – February 7; National HIV Testing Day – June 27; World AIDS Day – December 1; AIDS WALK in their respective cities. Each chapter will also coordinate with their respective Regional Project Alpha Chairman to present their findings at their respective regional conventions as well. Alpha chapters and local BLACC leaders will collaboratively use creative and innovative approaches, including films, creative arts, and other unique engagement sessions to provide education, motivation, and skill-building on issues of responsibility, relationships, teen pregnancy, and HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
"Studies show that focused HIV/AIDS education can significantly reduce youths’ desire to engage in risky behavior," said Dr. Sterling, the Fraternity’s Surgeon General. "Proper education can influence behaviors, including delaying the onset of sex, reducing sexual encounters, and becoming more selective of sexual partners. It also can prevent unprotected sex, reduce STIs, and decrease pregnancy rates."
For more than three decades, AHF has provided treatment, care, and support services to individuals living with HIV/AIDS worldwide. Through AHF’s BLACC initiative, the organization has continued to increase awareness among Black Americans, and has developed local, regional, and national partnerships with community-based organizations.
Anita Castille, AHF Vice-President, who quoted the great visionary leader, and man of Alpha, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said that "our lives begin to end the moment we are silent about things that matter."
"With the on-going increase in new HIV diagnoses as well as other STIs disproportionately impacting the lives of 12–25-year-old Black boys and men, saving the lives of our brothers matters," Castille said. "AHF, through BLACC, is excited to bring our organizations together to educate and empower our community by addressing this public health crisis, and collectively elevating the community’s commitment to our health, by making informed sexual decisions, reducing stigma, and decreasing the new infection rates among Black Americans."
According to the Centers for Disease Controls (CDC):
Young people aged 15–24 years acquire half of all new STIs nationwide.
Compared with older adults, sexually-active adolescents aged 15–19 years and young adults aged 20–24 years are at higher risk of acquiring STIs for a combination of behavioral, biological, and cultural reasons.
About Alpha Phi Alpha:
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., headquartered in Baltimore, MD, was founded on December 4, 1906, at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. The fraternity has long stood at the forefront of the African American community’s fight for civil rights through Alpha men such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock, Adam Clayton Powell, Thurgood Marshall, Paul Robeson, The Honorable Andrew Young, Edward Brooke, and Dr. Cornel West. The fraternity, through its more than 720 college and alumni chapters and general-organization members, serves communities in the United States, Canada, Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean. For more information, visit: apa1906.net and follow Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. on Twitter and Instagram @apa1906network.
About the Black Leadership AIDS Crisis Coalition powered by AIDS Healthcare Foundation
The Black Leadership AIDS Crisis Coalition (BLACC) powered by AIDS Healthcare Foundation ("AHF"), is a coalition of Black-American cultural influencers and health advocates, that through the use of innovative, culturally relevant messaging and initiatives, are revolutionizing outreach to the Black American community by elevating education, sexual health awareness and wellness and highlighting social justice issues disproportionately impacting the health and wellness of Black Americans. As the world’s largest nonprofit public health organization addressing the global HIV/AIDS epidemic, AHF currently has more than 1.5 million individuals in care. It provides services in 45 countries and domestically in 16 states including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Visit: aidshealth.org
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Colin Campbell, Ph.D., Director of Marketing & Communications
Imara Canady, National Director of Communications & Community Engagement