Faculty Develop International Programs
John S. Wodarski
In a joint effort the University of Tennessee College of Social Work (UTCSW), Children's Mental Health Services Research Center, Virgin Islands Division of Mental Health, Alcoholism, and Drug Dependency Services (DMHADDS), and the Until There's A Cure Foundation worked together to provide HIV-testing, education, and counseling programs to the youth of the U.S. Virgin Islands during 2009 and 2010. "The need for HIV prevention programming and testing in the U.S. Virgin Islands is tremendous. With an HIV prevalence of 1.6%, the incidences of HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean region is the second highest in the world, second only to the sub-Saharan Africa," says Dr. Wodarski. " We were proud to have the opportunity to use a generous grant provided by the Until There's A Cure Foundation in order to realize these efforts."
When this HIV/AIDS project, "Primary Prevention with Caribbean Youth," started, Wodarski found that there were almost no mental health services, substance abuse services or HIV testing in the islands. So the effort required a total restructuring of thinking toward mental health issues, substance abuse issues, and testing. This project has been extremely successful and it is hoped that the project will be funded and continue during the upcoming year.