Pediatric, Youth and Family HIV Program The Connecticut Children’s and The University of Connecticut Health Center’s Pediatric, Youth and Family HIV Program is comprised of a multidisciplinary team which provides comprehensive specialty infectious disease medical and preventative care for HIV-infected and affected/at risk children, youth, women and families. Our primary mission is to assist HIV infected and affected children, youth and women to be as healthy as possible and at the same time to prevent HIV transmission and acquisition in the people we serve. The program is directly linked to other medical services and to the following evidence informed and evidence based interventions: Hartford Youth HIV Identification and Linkage Consortium (HYHIL), Health Interactive Project (HIP), Women Involved in Life Learning from other Women (WILLOW), Popular Opinion Leader (POL), Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative,Psychosocial Groups and the Mental Health Group. Hartford Youth HIV Identification and Linkage to Care (HYHIL) The Hartford Youth HIV Identification and Linkage Consortium (HYHIL) is a collaborative network of community based agencies, medical providers, youth representatives and others working together to prevent the spread of HIV and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among youth through interactive prevention education, community engagement and outreach, and youth friendly HIV/STD screenings. HYHIL also assures a seamless linkage to community resources, medical care services and employment services for youth and young adults. The Health Interactive Project (HIP) The Health Interactive Project (HIP) is designed to increase HIV/STD awareness in youth and to offer HIV testing to high-risk students and those who do not have access to school-based health clinics. HIP reinforces ongoing HIV and STD educational activities provided through health classes in public schools. HIP activities include educational sessions with hands-on activities and uses drama, humor, audience interaction, improvisation and high impact graphics in its interactive theater to inform and educate. HIP also provides one-on-one education and counseling sessions that include voluntary, confidential HIV and STD screenings. Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative The Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative is delivered through the implementation of two Center for Disease Control evidenced-based interventions called, “Making Proud Choices ( MPC)” and “Be Proud, Be Responsible.” The principal goal is to help reduce teen pregnancy rates in targeted city of Hartford communities by 10% and link youth into adolescent reproductive health services. Through the module group curricula, diverse youth ages 15-19 years of age are provided with the knowledge, confidence and skills necessary to reduce their risk of acquiring HIV and other STIs and to prevent pregnancy by abstaining from sex or alternatively by increasing their use of condoms. Popular Opinion Leader Program (POL) Popular Opinion Leader (POL) is an evidence-based HIV prevention intervention developed by the Centers for Disease Control based on identifying and training key opinion leaders on how to have safe-sex conversations with friends and peers to influence social norms. Women Involved in Learning Life Choices (WILLOW) The WILLOW intervention is an evidence-based social-skills building and educational intervention developed by the Centers for Disease Control for adolescent and adult women living with HIV. It consists of 4 four-hour sessions, which are delivered by two trained adult female facilitators. Confidential Rapid HIV Screenings HIV screenings are offered to anyone 13 years of age and older by a qualified trained counselor. All HIV screenings administered are confidential and include risk reduction, education and referral to medical care services or community resources. Medical Case Management This program offers comprehensive medical case management services for women, infants, children and youth affected by HIV through coordination of medical services through psychosocial assessments, client-centered treatment plans and a seamless system of referral to other medical specialties and to community resources. Psychosocial Support Groups These monthly peer-driven support groups are for adolescent and adult women interested in self-improvement, learning how live a healthy, making informed decisions about their physical and emotional health and in building a stronger and more effective support system. The Psychosocial groups are delivered in a fun, confidential and respectful environment where group participants can talk openly about the challenges of living with HIV/AIDS, share achievements and success stories. The Mental Health Group The Mental Health Group is designed for children and youth between the ages of 13-18 years living with HIV Disease. The support groups offers a safe, therapeutic and non-threatening supportive learning environment that fosters mutual aid and supports members’ psychosocial needs. Many children and youth face increased challenges with rejection of HIV status, denial, disclosure, anger, self-esteem, resentment, and self- identity. The groups provide an opportunity for children and youth living with HIV Disease to receive additional support and education on issues important to them, as well as, learn to how manage both the emotional and physical burden that coincides with having a chronic illness. The support group is extremely beneficial because it is constantly evolving to meet the young participant’s needs as they grow through various life stages through hands on enrichment activities that foster team building, trust, mutual aid, collective learning and community service. The mental health groups have become an essential component HIV care and treatment for children and youth living with HIV Disease.