At a New York Fashion Week event honoring Black History Month, ICAP’s Harlem Prevention Center (HPC) put HIV awareness on the runway for the Black LGBTQ+ community.
On Wednesday, February 13, 2023, HPC staff invited participants of the center’s HPTN 091 “I Am” study and members of HPC’s community advisory board to model and view designs made by Douglas Says, Michael Leon, and House of Underwood, three prominent Black LGBTQ+ designers, at the LGBT Community Center in Manhattan.
The “Spotlight on Fashion” event, organized by the Center for Black Pride, allowed HPC to conduct outreach and provide educational resources about HIV amongst LGBTQ+ community members.
“Black and African American people account for a higher proportion of new HIV diagnoses, compared to other races and ethnicities,” said Nora Howell, BBA, community educator for HPC. “We decided to partner with the Center for Black Pride specifically because of our aligned focus on HIV prevention, treatment, and care. In addition, Leon Simmons, the founder and CEO of the Center for Black Pride is a longstanding supporter of ICAP HPC. He always includes HIV education and resources at his events to keep the LGBTQ+ community informed of advances in HIV research,” she added.
Over one hundred people attended the fashion show, which HPC used as a retention event for “I Am” study participants to ensure their well-being and continued engagement. HPC staff also engaged other participants by educating them on future HPC studies and study recruitment events.
Since April 2020, HPC has participated in the “I Am” study, a PrEP uptake clinical trial that offers women of trans experience PrEP alongside gender-affirming hormone therapy and peer-health navigation to reduce HIV acquisition rates in the demographic.
For HPC staff, engaging directly with members of the black LGBTQ community is imperative to educating them on the studies and giving them access to resources they would typically not have. For example, “I Am” study participants gain access to PrEP services and gender-affirming hormone therapy, STI screening, mental health, and other health resources.
“Through vital event collaborations and ongoing relationships with partners like the Center for Black Pride, HPC can stay rooted and engaged in a community where health services for transgender people of color are historically underserved,” Howell said.
Alongside HPC, Amida Care and HIV Stops with Me co-sponsored the Spotlight on Fashion event.
The Center for Black Pride is a non-profit organization created to educate and advocate for New York’s LGBTQ+ people of color community by creating events that celebrate and honor their societal contributions.
The Harlem Prevention Center is one of two ICAP research hubs in New York City. Through the prevention center, ICAP works with local community-based organizations, religious leaders, and advocates to promote community awareness and engagement with the research studies.