Washington Post Profiles Baltimore, Md.-Based HIV/STD Prevention Outreach Program Aimed at Sex Workers
The Washington Post on Tuesday profiled YANA, or You Are Never Alone, a Baltimore, Md.-based not-for-profit organization that promotes the "collective healing and survival" of female sex workers. The group, founded in 1996 by social worker Sid Ford, helps hundreds of women each year by providing pamphlets on sexually transmitted diseases and free condoms, as well as other outreach services, to men and women. The "condom ladies" of YANA -- former prostitutes who distribute the condoms and information on the streets of Baltimore -- recently completed a 10-session AIDS education program called the SISTA, or Sistas Informing Sistas About Topics on AIDS, Project. The program was funded with a $52,000 grant from the Maryland AIDS Administration, which targets Baltimore because the city accounts for more than half the HIV/AIDS cases in the state, according to Liza Solomon, the administration's director. The YANA approach, which is "part of a wider 'harm reduction' philosophy'" that has "gained credence" among many people who work with sex workers, is similar to that of a group in Washington, D.C., called HIPS, or Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive. Cyndee Clay, HIPS' executive director, said, "Leaving the streets is a process, not an event. Harm reduction celebrates the steps within the process." Currently, YANA is preparing to apply for another grant from the state AIDS administration and is looking to "continue and even expand" work with the SISTA Project, the Post reports (Otto, Washington Post, 6/3).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.