Women, Health Disparities, HIV Prevention Forum Oct. 27

On Thursday, October 27, 2011, there will be a public forum at the Woonsocket Harris Public Library entitled “Women, Health Disparities and HIV/STI Prevention: Building Healthy Communities and Families in Rhode Island.”

The library is located at 303 Linton Avenue in Woonsocket, Rhode Island.  The forum will be held from 9 a.m. to noon.

Rhode Island’s First Lady Stephanie Chafee is the Honorary Chair and will give opening remarks.  Bisola O. Ojikutu, MD, MPH, will provide the keynote presentation that highlights racial disparities in HIV/AIDS and STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) rates and discuss social barriers to medical services.

“This forum is intended to identify opportunities that will strengthen referral systems and expand women’s access to HIV/STI prevention, screening and health care services,” said Thomas Bertrand, AIDS Project Rhode Island executive director.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show social issues associated with poverty including limited access to quality health care, housing and HIV prevention education, directly and indirectly increase the risk for HIV infection and affect the health of people living with HIV/AIDS.

On trend with national figures, HIV/AIDS and many STIs in Rhode Island disproportionately impact communities of color and especially affect women in these communities.

Forum host organizations include AIDS Project Rhode Island, Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, Sojourner House and the Northern Rhode Island YWCA.

“The host organizations serve similar communities in Rhode Island.  The collaborative nature of this event gives us a chance to bring medical, professional, academic and public representatives together in a conversation to consider how to improve access to healthcare and social services,” said Pierrette Silverman, vice president, education and and training, at Planned Parenthood of Southern New England.

Admission is free and a continental breakfast will be served.  Attending clinical professionals are eligible for Continuing Education Units.

To register, please RSVP to education@ppsne.org.