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PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:
23-Jan-2014

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Contact: Kris Rodriguez
kris.rodriguez@utsa.edu
210-458-5116
University of Texas at San Antonio
@utsa

UTSA/UTHSCSA awarded $900,000 to prevent substance abuse and HIV/AIDS transmission

SAN ANTONIO, Jan. 23, 2014 -- The UTSA Institute for Health Disparities Research in the College of Liberal and Fine Arts and The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Division of Community Pediatrics have been awarded $900,000 in funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) for a collaborative project between a Minority-Serving Institution and Community-Based Organization(s) to prevent and reduce Substance Abuse (SA) and HIV/AIDS transmission among young adults.

UTSA and the Health Science Center will be working with two community-based organizations, Black Effort Against the Threat of AIDS Coalition Trust (BEAT AIDS) and San Antonio Fighting Back (SAFB), which will be providing a comprehensive array of substance abuse and HIV/AIDS services to young minority adults. The program is called Oh Snap!

Alcohol and illicit drug use among young adults continues to be an ongoing issue across the nation. Substance abuse in young adults is often accompanied by harmful health, social and academic consequences, which negatively affect those individuals and people in their surrounding communities.

Additionally, substance abuse has been linked to increased risky sexual behaviors, resulting in increased likelihood of HIV infection and transmission.

"We are trying to build a program that is culturally competent to address HIV/AIDS and substance abuse problems among 18-24 year olds in the greater San Antonio region," said Thankam Sunil, UTSA Professor of sociology, director of the UTSA Institute for Health Disparities Research and project director for Oh Snap!. "This collaboration will allow us to intervene in a number of different ways, either through educational programs, face-to-face interventions or by providing brochures and materials to educate young adults about these high-risk behaviors."

"There is a health phenomenon that is confronting our people and we are trying to figure out ways to help them through these issues," said Tony Scott, Ph.D., professor of pediatrics in the Health Science Center Department of Community Pediatrics in the School of Medicine.

The Oh Snap! program will address the issues of substance abuse and HIV/STD transmission among young adults through a three-pronged strategic model that includes evidence-based SA/HIV education, HIV testing and counseling, and evidence-based environmental prevention strategies. The goal of Oh Snap! is to help young adults make informed decisions that reduce their risk of substance abuse and HIV infection and increase their academic and social success.

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The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, one of the country's leading health sciences universities, ranks in the top three percent of all institutions worldwide receiving National Institutes of Health funding. The university's schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have produced more than 29,000 graduates. The $765.2 million operating budget supports eight campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. For more information on the many ways "We make lives better®," visit http://www.uthscsa.edu.

The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) is an emerging Tier One research institution specializing in health, energy, security, sustainability, and human and social development. With nearly 29,000 students, it is the largest university in the San Antonio metropolitan region. UTSA advances knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. The university embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.



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