Change 4 Women (C4W) increases the statewide impact of programs for women of color living with HIV/AIDS through the development of best practices for service delivery, as well as the creation of coordinated networks of highly skilled providers who can deliver direct services in trauma-informed, gender-affirming ways. The program is designed to provide women living with HIV/AIDS with the services and support they need to initiate and maintain stable HIV care and reduce any feelings of stigma and isolation they may be experiencing. The program also seeks to create communities of support, both in-person and virtual, for WLWH through the use of social events, empowerment programming, and evidence-based interventions that promote overall wellness and connection. The C4W Program serves 300 women of color living with HIV each year. Program activities include:
The Peer Navigators are women from the community living well with HIV. They meet the women in their homes and neighborhoods in a way that resonates with them and increases women’s likelihood to seek care. This trauma-informed model addresses the intersection of violence and HIV and is effective in improving engagement in care for women living with HIV. Peer Navigators are effective in gaining the trust of participants, which then increases the participants’ acceptance of and retention of HIV services.
Family-centered events, educational workshops, and social-gathering activities result in improvements in social skills, self-respect, self-acceptance, and expression of feelings which results in a greater sense of well-being. It is often at these events that clients who normally do not utilize HIV services feel empowered to seek more intensive care and support services offered at Christie’s Place, such as mental health treatment and medical case management.
The Lotus Project is an empowerment training curriculum that teaches women living with HIV to be advocates in the community, to share their stories in meaningful ways, and to link other women to programming at Christie’s Place.