In 1999, two HIV-positive, African American women living in Liberty City saw the need for an agency that could serve the community from the perspective of its residents. They understood the culture and experience of persons living with HIV. This was the start of Empower "U", Inc. a minority, peer-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)3 community-based organization that has served its community since its inception. In addition to being peer-based, Empower "U", Inc. has experience, expertise, and a competent well-trained staff. Because it is located within Liberty City, Empower "U", Inc. has established a strong presence and positive relationship with the residents.
Empower "U", Inc. first service was street outreach in areas where high risk behaviors were happening, and to identify persons living with or at risk for HIV and bring then to care. In 2002, the agency was first funded to provide medical case management through the Ryan White Care Act. In 2003, Empower "U", Inc. became a State of Florida HIV test site and began providing free confidential HIV testing. In 2004, Empower "U", Inc. partnered with the CDC, first under PA 04-064, then under PS 10-1003, to provide HIV testing and prevention interventions. In 2013, Empower "U", Inc. became a federally qualified health center to provide primary medical and HIV specialty care.
Empower "U", Inc. mission is to empower, educate and promote better health care choices among historically underserved minority communities disproportionately impacted by health disparities. The vision is equal access to health care and optimum utilization of primary health care service to promote the elimination of health disparity among historically minority communities. We are submitting this proposal for CDC-RFA- PS15-1502 Category A funding. We believe that continuing our partnership with the CDC to provide integrated testing, connection to medical care and other support services, and implementing prevention services and interventions for both HIV-positive and high risk HIV-negative persons using the strategies and activities of the High-Impact HIV Prevention Program model will move the nation closer to its and our goals of reducing HIV transmission, and increasing access to care and improving health outcomes for people living with HIV/AIDS.