POSE (Protecting Our Sisters Equally) is an intervention developed by The McKenzie Project as a way to end the HIV epidemic through building the emotion and mind health of Black transgender women in South Florida. While HIV continues to challenge our health in so many ways, the continued pressure to get tested, get on PrEP and get HIV care if we are living with HIV has had a rebound effect on many of us. We feel that the reasons why HIV is a challenge for us is due to the focus on “numbers” in South Florida- organizations want us to take HIV tests, get on PrEP, and get on HIV medications- but the fear, stigma, depression, anxiety, poverty, lack of accessible, affordable housing, and simply the challenge of living as Black trans women in a transphobic, dangerous and violent society is not addressed. However, these factors play a huge role in why we are unable to end the epidemic among us.
Through POSE we will establish a supportive holistic health network. POSE was created and will be delivered by Jasmine McKenzie, the founder and director of the McKenzie Project to focus on HIV prevention, testing and care from a holistic standpoint in order to address the root causes that affect our health and ultimately result in health disparities such as HIV. Over three years, we will build a hub of holistic health for Black transgender women ages 18 and older that will increase positive life and health outcomes for us. This will not only reduce isolation and stigma, but ultimately result in re-engagement in HIV prevention, testing and care.