Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 July 2010 11:40 Written by HIV Alliance News Tuesday, 30 March 2010 15:58
Stepping Up "The Game"
The recent success and excitement being generated by HIV Alliance's prevention program, The Game, has us exhilarated and hopeful about community outreach efforts to come! The Game is a local implementation of the Community PROMISE (Peers Reaching Out and Modeling Intervention Strategies) model. Proven effective in many cities nationwide, including Portland and Seattle, Community PROMISE is a CDC approved intervention designed specifically to increased preventative behaviors such as safer sex in high risk groups.
This means that at HIV Alliance, we are working with Peer Advocates, a local network of guys who have sex with other guys, to increase HIV awareness and prevention in our community. The Game is about education, prevention, and empowerment for all individuals.
Prevention Coordinator Tony Aaron Fuller recently shared his excitement and hopes for The Game. “I am proud that the agency has stuck with this program. It is hard work, but it makes a difference. We want to come up with new and exciting ways to get guys involved.” He credits Outreach Prevention Specialist Natalie York with being especially active in cultivating new relationships in the community, resulting in the recent addition of five new Peer Advocates for The Game.
Peer Advocates are volunteers who do outreach within their own social networks. They hand out role model stories and safer sex materials, and are committed to helping the community and preventing the spread of HIV. These volunteers are the important piece in making this program work, and they are passionate about what they do.
One Peer Advocate says, “I decided to become a peer advocate because I realized how important it is for men in our community to be safe and have a place to find out about their HIV status. I feel that I’m helping the community by getting the word out and showing others about safe sex practices.”
What's in the future for The Game as well as other prevention and outreach efforts by HIV Alliance? Tony says HIV Alliance is working on marketing The Game by making promotional posters and other printed materials for clubs and other locations that men who have sex with men meet in an effort to stir up curiosity about The Game. The success of this program relies largely on the participation and commitment of the Peer Advocates and other volunteers.
Word of mouth is also key; Tony encourages, “Tell your friends, tell anyone who is MSM who hasn't heard about it. It becomes more effective when more people know about it and can spread the word. We want this to be a program the agency is known for!”
Learn more about The Game here!