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Local partnership encourages women in Louisville area to receive free HIV testing, education


Free HIV testing and education about Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) and domestic violence is available for the Louisville community through a partnership announced Thursday with The Center for Women and Families, Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE), and Volunteers of America – Friends Inspiring Testing (VOA-FIT).

The “Take Charge, Not Risks” partnership aims to both ensure women who have experienced IPV are aware that they are at higher risk of contracting HIV while also encouraging these high-risk individuals to take charge of their lives, whether it be through IPV support services, HIV testing, or both.

“In recent years, we have seen a 39 percent increase in domestic violence reports in Louisville, and the state’s sexual violence victimization rate is higher than the national average,” said Elizabeth Wessels-Martin, President and Chief Empowerment Officer of The Center for Women and Families. “These statistics are especially concerning since women who experience Intimate Partner Violence are nearly 3.5 times as likely as women who have not experienced IPV to have an HIV/AIDS diagnosis. This is something we are hoping to address here in the Louisville community.”

“The correlation between women who have both experienced IPV and have an HIV diagnosis is quite apparent,” said Tamara Reif, Associate Vice President of Program Services for Volunteers of America Mid-States. “Through this partnership with The Center for Women and Families and the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, our team hopes to better understand this intersection and provide resources to keep our community safe and healthy.”

According to research, other groups that are at a higher-than-average risk of developing HIV include women without high school educations and women with a household income of less than $20,000 per year. Additionally, minority women are at a higher risk of experiencing both HIV and IPV. Studies have shown that Black/African American females experience HIV infection rates 15.1 times the rate of white females, while Hispanic/Latina females have an HIV infection rate that is 3.1 times that of white females.

“We hope to not only raise awareness among women who have experienced IPV that they are at a higher risk of contracting HIV, but we also want to encourage these women to take charge of their health and safety by seeking out these services,” said April Schweinhart, Ph.D., Associate Research Scientist from the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation. “By offering free HIV testing and IPV education, this partnership will make getting these necessary services more readily accessible to anyone who is at risk.”

Free testing for HIV and education resources for IPV are available at the following locations.

The Center for Women and Families
Joan E. Thomas, M.D. Campus (Open 24-Hours)
927 South 2nd Street, Louisville
502-581-7200 (business line)
502-581-7222 (24-hour crisis line)

Volunteers of America Mid-States
933 Goss Avenue
Louisville, KY 40217
(502) 636-0771

To learn more about the partnership and free testing services, visit www.takechargenotrisks.org.

From The Center for Women and Families

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