A new Community Advisory Board (CAB) has formed to address and implement innovative strategies to reduce the high rates of STDs among young women of color in Los Angeles County.
Project Fierce formed because there is a significant lack of resources and community-based approaches to reduce STDs, including HIV, for young cis and transgender women of color in LA County. Currently, the CAB consists of nine women of color ages 18-24 from across LA County.
Meet the CAB
- Cassandra Frias
- Lucia Torres
“As young women of color in Los Angeles we face adversity as a result of our race, gender identity, and socioeconomic status, which have severely impacted our access to STI and HIV prevention, testing, and treatment along with our access to research and resources by young women of color for women of color.” – CAB member, Lucía Torrez Espinoza
- Ty-Yhana Young
- Marisa London
- Brianna Andersen
- Alexia Venegas
- I’shanee Nariah
“With the diversity in our CAB and sharing our cultural norms/customs, we can identify similarities across these minority communities. Knowledge is power.” – CAB member, I’Shanee Nariah
- Maria Diaz
- Sharmin Shanur
- "The camaraderie between members of Project Fierce is amazing—everyone is on the same page and we all have the same goals of increasing awareness around STDs. Everyone in our team is a little activist in the making, hoping to make the world a better place." – CAB member, Sharmin Shanur
The CAB is currently assessing the social determinants of health impacting STDs in young women of color and how to address them. While primarily targeting young women of color, Project Fierce will enhance accessibility for a multitude of groups, regardless of race, ethnicity, age or other demographic characteristics of those who seek services.
Addressing the Social Determinants of Health
Some groups experience a greater burden of STD rates that are driven largely by social determinants of health (SDH), or circumstances and systems in which they live. In Los Angeles County (LAC), multiple SDHs drive the local STD and HIV epidemics, including structural racism, intersecting oppression, incarceration, homelessness, inadequate screening and testing, and lack of access to culturally appropriate services.,
The data clearly indicate that STDs, including HIV, disproportionately impact men who have sex with men (MSM), trans individuals, and cisgender women of color, groups that tend to experience higher levels of other negative outcomes as well, such as discrimination and poverty. Across all of these populations, young people and African-Americans shoulder the greatest burden.
Partnerships at Work
Project Fierice is a project of WeCanStopSTDsLA, in collaboration with lead project partners Community Health Councils. Inc., Coachman Moore & Inc., and Children's Hospital Los Angeles. Other key anchoring partners include: LA County Department of Public Health; Division of HIV and STD Programs; and its Center for Health Equity; the LA County Commission on HIV; and Essential Access Health.
“cisgender” is a gender identity that is congruent with a persons’ sex at birth (i.e. non-trans).