CHICAGO — Health advocates and community members gathered last week in Chicago at Little Black Pearl Workshop for the Red Pump Project’s annual “Condoms and Cupcakes” discussion and party, the Windy City Times reports.
The gathering aimed for a frank discussion about HIV awareness and prevention among women of color. Red Pump Project is a national organization, based in Chicago, dedicated to educating women and girls on the impact of HIV/AIDS as well as matters of sexual and reproductive health. Their name is derived from their signature event, which occurs each year on March 10, which is National Women and Girls’ HIV/AIDS Awareness Day: The organization asks all women to “rock” red shoes that day, since “We use the Red Pump as a symbol of empowerment to represent the strength and courage of women affected by HIV/AIDS,” according to the group’s website.
After a discussion of female condoms by Sara Semelka of AIDS Foundation of Chicago, as well as a talk by Alaina Robertson of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, three local activists — two of them HIV-positive — discussed both the importance of frank conversation about the HIV as well the need to reduce stigmatization against HIV-positive individuals, the Times reports.