NEW SCHEDULE: Project Silk Open Hours

Effective August 2015, Project Silk will begin a new community space schedule, open Monday – Thursday 1-8 P.M.

We are continuously changing to better assist the needs of our Silk Members. Thank you to our Youth Advisory Board (YAB) for the continuous support and feedback!

We will continue our Freestyle Friday programming with our partners at Pittsburgh Aids Task Force. Freestyle Fridays is organized by the #StandOUTPGH campaign and takes place from 5-8 p.m. at the Project Silk space. The event offers food, a local speaker on community resources, OTA performance, prizes, and FREE HIV/STI testing!

National HIV Testing Day: Project Selfie Contest

ProjectSelfieWinner

On National HIV Testing Day, Project Silk launched a Project Selfie contest. The object of the contest is to post a selfie on our social media taken in the space along with a creative hashtag promoting HIV testing awareness. Please check out our Facebook page to view many great entries with innovative engagement surrounding HIV prevention and outreach. Yesterday, we were happy to announce our winner, Aria Copeland, with the entry #KnowingIsCaring. We believe this reflects our mission to offer a space where silk members are able to care for themselves by actualizing the direction of their own lives through holistic wellness and healthy relationships!

For more information on National HIV Testing Day, please visit this website. This year their message was “Take the Test, Take Control”.

Stride for Pride Scholarship

The Stride for Pride Student Community Leadership Scholarship awards a $1,500 scholarship to a self-identified lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) student who has enhanced the perception of the LGBT youth through contributions and involvement in the Pittsburgh community. Candidates must be high school juniors or seniors in the Pittsburgh PA area who will be attending an accredited two-year or four-year college or university in the United States. Candidates should demonstrate academic and community leadership excellence, as well as the potential to serve as a positive LGBT role model. The application deadline is August 1, 2015. For more information contact Stride for Pride at stride4pride@yahoo.com

Project Silk Pride Month

For Pride Celebration month, Project Silk will provide communal dinner during our sexual health group every Thursday in June from 5-6 p.m. Come learn about safer sex practices and eat a delicious meal!

On June 14th, Project Silk will have open hours at the community space from noon- 6 p.m. for celebration as well as free, confidential HIV/STI testing. If you are interested in joining the Project Silk members’ walking contingent in the Pride parade downtown, please contact our peer navigator, Kenny McDowell at kmcdowell@chscorp.org.

Also, check out these other Pride celebrations occurring in the city of Pittsburgh!

ORGULLO!
June 5th- 6th, 2015
Celebrate Pride with Pittsburgh’s FIRST Latin@ LGBTQ Pride event
http://www.cafeconlechepgh.com/events/

Roots Pride PGH
June 11th-14th, 2015
An intentional celebration of diversity across the entire spectrum of race, class, gender, orientation, and ability in the LGBTQIA+ community.
http://rootspridepgh.wix.com/rootspridepgh

Project Silk Healthy Relationships Group

Project Silk aims to build positive identity development and healthy relationships among youth members through various programming to promote safer sex practices. Specifically, each Wednesday from 5 – 6 p.m. our Therapeutic Intervention Specialist, Daphne Beers, facilitates a discussion group or activity related to these topics.

Click here to read a story in NPR news about the connections between relationship dynamics and sexual health education.

Sexually Transmitted Infections Awareness

As the close of STI/STD Awareness Month approaches, Project Silk would like to acknowledge that sexual health can be an integral component of an individual’s overall wellness. We provide support at our community space for safer sex practices, dialogue with intimate partners, and medical advocacy during annual health screenings. Please read the statement below from our Sexual Health Support Specialist, Dalen Hooks:

Here at project silk we offer HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis testing on site. If tested positive for any of these STD’s, we can link you to medical care for treatment.

· STDs are usually spread through sexual contact with someone who has an STD. Sexual contact includes oral, anal, and vaginal sex, as well as genital skin-to-skin contact.

· In most cases these STD’S can be asymptomatic in woman and sometimes in men. For example, seventy percent of women with chlamydia don’t have symptoms.

· Some STDs (like gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis) can be cured with medication. If you are ever treated for an STD, be sure to finish all of your medicine, even if you feel better. Your partner should be tested and treated, too. It is important to remember that you are at risk for the same or a new STD every time you have unprotected sex (not using a condom) and/or have sex with someone who has an STD.

· Genital sores, such as those caused by Syphilis, can make individuals more susceptible to acquiring HIV.

· HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection and it has been linked to causing certain forms of cancer. Vaccinations are recommended for all children ages 11 or 12 years, however, they are available for females up to age 26 and males up to 21 years.

#GYT campaign:
www.itsyoursexlife.com/

Get Yourself Tested downloadable materials:
http://npin.cdc.gov/STDAwareness/GYT_Materials.aspx

New Changes at Project Silk

Community Human Services (CHS) has been a partner with the University of Pittsburgh providing service coordination and psycho educational support since the inception of Project Silk. In 2015, CHS acquired Project Silk from an operational standpoint as part of its intended transition to a community based organization.

The core components of programming will remain consistent. Project Silk will utilize social networking strategies as an outreach method for STI/HIV testing offered on-site to increase knowledge of undiagnosed infections; implement behavioral interventions related to positive adult identity development and sexual health education; and provide linkage to medical care and ancillary services to promote overall wellness within HIV positive as well as high risk negative communities.

Moving forward as we oversee the Project Silk space, we will aim to implement additional youth driven initiatives and recreational programming to promote self-efficacy. If you would like to get involved or have ideas for capacity building, please contact Jess Netto at jnetto@chscorp.org.

Our mission:

Project SILK provides a safe, healthy, supportive community environment for LGBT youth of color to grow, celebrate, and express themselves. With service providers and community partners, we advocate for our youth to determine the meaning and direction for their own lives.