HIV/AIDS + Domestic Violence: Women at the Intersection

Today marked the first meeting of Coalition H.O.W.L., a coalition of service providers working together to help women who live at the intersection of HIV/AIDS and Domestic Violence (DV).

Her story. One community. Waking up to LISTEN.

The Greater Newark Area is an epicenter of these two intersecting epidemics—each of which is characterized by stigma, fear of disclosure, violence, under-education, and lack of available resources. Each of which requires a special kind of trauma-informed care that is yet to be comprehensively developed. But it is much needed.

New Jersey accounts for the highest rates in the nation of women living with HIV/AIDS; Essex County alone is estimated to have 5,230 women living with the virus. This part of New Jersey also has alarming rates of DV and even more staggering rates of DV crimes that are not met with a conviction. In Essex County, it is estimated that 8.49 women experience DV per hour. And while a 2013 survey showed that Newark represented 42.6% of DV crimes in Essex County, only 14 instances of sexual assault were reported last year.

"In the United States, women living with HIV are more likely to die from violence, trauma, and the effects of lifetime abuse, than HIV-related causes" [Positive Women's Network].

It is the silence that surrounds both HIV/AIDS and DV that is the most lethal. Coalition H.O.W.L. seeks to bring information and collaborative services to the forefront. Of women living at the intersection of HIV/AIDS and DV: 55% experience Intimate Partner Violence (2x the national rate); 61%have been sexually abused (5x the national rate); and 30% have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (5x the national rate). 45% of women were met with physical abuse upon disclosing their HIV status. There is a crisis of silence that surrounds this population that will not be alleviated until service providers from both populations come together to develop a "pipeline" that bridges  supportive services for women from this population.

To understand this phenomenon, we need to probe it. The immediate goals of Coalition H.O.W.L. are to begin a support group from women living with HIV/AIDS who have experienced DV; coordinate resources through monthly face-to-face gatherings; and to spread awareness by inviting other organizations to become involved with this work.

If you are interested in learning more, contributing, or sharing about this work, please complete and submit the form below. Or call Dr. Jaclyn Harte at (973) 643-0400 ext. 751.

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We would love to have you onboard! What role do you envision playing? (optional)

Project Nest

We've been busy.

ARFC, with support from the NJ Department of Health's Division of HIV, TB, and STD Services, has designed, organized, and opened a supportive home for young HIV-positive gay and bisexual men. This program is one that is close to ARFC's mission. As the children and families in our care grow, change, and evolve, so do the array of programs at ARFC. Our commitment to children and adolescents in the after-school program and our legacy of services to adults and families has lead us to this newest initiative - providing support to the young people aging out, or kicked out, of traditional support systems.

Project Nest is a transitional housing program that provides weekly individual and group therapy, medical case management, nursing services, substance abuse prevention, and opportunities for developing life skills. ARFC intends for each resident to exit with the skills and confidence they need to live independently in the community.

We are taking referrals into the program - complete the screening form here (www.aidsresource.org/prescreen).

To support the work, donate here (www.aidsresource.org/donate).

Canticles for Life Benefit Concert

Benefitting organizations serving people impacted by HIV and AIDS

The Canticles for Life AIDS Benefit Concert is presented annually to raise awareness and funds to benefit the following charities which are concerned with the quality of life for persons with AIDS and the remembrance of lives lost: the AIDS Resource Foundation for Children, in Newark; the NAMES Project of Northern NJ, which supports the AIDS Memorial Quilt; and NJ AIDS Services. Since the concerts began, over $100,000 has been raised in support of this music ministry.

Under the direction of the Triad Arts Ensemble, and in collaboration with the host venues, Canticles programs feature vocal music in styles including classical, folk, pop, jazz, gospel, Broadway and world music.  This year features Sean Altman (April 9 & 10),  a founder of Rockapella! Past performers have included: the Newark Boys Chorus, Mad Agnes, the Dan Crisci Jazz Quartet, Mark Miller and the Good News Community Choir, and the Triad Chamber Vocal Ensemble.  Another meaningful component of the concerts is a display of sections from the AIDS Memorial Quilt – representing lives lost to AIDS - and a time of reflection and dedication of new quilt panels during the program.

The main goal of these concerts is to serve as reminders that there are still so many people in the New Jersey community impacted by HIV/AIDS, and that there is still a stigma attached to this disease.

April 3, 7pm at St. Joseph's Church (767 Prospect Street, Maplewood)
April 9, 7pm at First Presbyterian Church of Boonton (413 Birch Street, Boonton)
April 10, 7pm at United Methodist Church (903 Beverwyck Road, Parsippany)

Tickets are available at the door for $15 general admission. Or purchase tickets online at www.CanticlesForLife.org.

Twilight's 20th Anniversary Success!!

Thank you Twilight Concert Committee, artists, and supporters. You raised $32,000 for much-needed programs at the AIDS Resource Foundation for Children. ARFC could not continue its work in underserved communities without the commitment that each of our friends have made to creating a better world for ALL children. We are grateful.

Performers Pat Guadagno and Layonne Holmes

Performers Pat Guadagno and Layonne Holmes