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Stepping Up: D.C. Wards 7 and 8 Teens to Teach Prevention of HIV, Obesity in Summer Youth Program
Date:5/11/2009

Mayor’s Summer Job Program, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield Give 40 in District Opportunity to Help Community Prevent HIV/AIDS

Washington, D.C. (Vocus)-- The Summit Health Institute for Research and Education (SHIRE), Inc., is reaching out to 40 young men and women in D.C. Wards 7 and 8, ages 15-20 to help prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS and childhood obesity. The five-month paid program works in partnership with Mayor Adrian M. Fenty’s 2009 Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) and is funded with a $99,797 grant by CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst).

Dr. Pierre Vigilance said of the program, “HIV and obesity are both preventable, and they pose a major threat to the public's health. Today's grant will educate a group of District youth so they can make healthy choices, teach others what they have learned, and pass on these valuable life skills and tools to their families, friends, and neighbors.”

According to the District’s HIV/AIDS office, more than 15,000 D.C. residents over the age of 12 are infected with HIV, exceeding epidemic thresholds. The city also has a childhood obesity epidemic, ranking last in the nation with 25 percent of young men and women ages 10 to 17 either overweight or obese.

“We have HIV infection and childhood obesity rates that should alarm us into action,” said Ruth T. Perot, Executive Director and CEO of the SHIRE. “HIV does not ask if you are young or old. It spreads and kills without discretion. We are appreciative for CareFirst’s support and encouraged by the promise this program offers for Ward 7 and 8 teens.”

Participants in the
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