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PROVIDENCE, RI – October 19, 2011 – On Thursday, October 27, 2011, a public forum, Women, Health Disparities and HIV/STI Prevention: Building Healthy Communities and Families in Rhode Island will be held from 9:00am – Noon at the Woonsocket Harris Public Library, 303 Clinton Street, Woonsocket, RI. 

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

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.

“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, Executive Director of AIDS Project Rhode Island.

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.

“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 Training at Planned Parenthood of Southern New England.

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

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

To register, please RSVP via email to: [email protected].


Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, Inc.


Christine Spiegel
Director, Public Relations & Marketing

Direct: 203.752.2810 | Mobile: 203.843.2599
[email protected]


October 19, 2011