A new project funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will help create safe and supportive school environments as an innovative approach to the prevention of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections for adolescents.

Funding for APA's Safe and Supportive Schools Project is provided by a five-year, $1 million cooperative agreement with the CDC's Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH).

"Safe and supportive schools are associated with improved education and health outcomes, including sexual health outcomes, for all students," says SSSP Director Lacey Rosenbaum.

Housed within APA's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns Office, the project promotes safe and supportive environments for all students and staff. The project is also focused on reducing health disparities in three groups of youth at disproportionate risk including: LGBT youth, with an emphasis on young men who have sex with men, homeless youth and youth in alternative schools.

Developing evidence-supported resources on safe and supportive schools for school counselors, nurses, psychologists, social workers and other personnel who can take steps to improve school climate is also a priority for the Safe and Supportive Schools Project. The CDC/DASH has funded 19 state education agencies to help school districts build HIV/sexually transmitted disease prevention programs using APA's resources.

APA members who are interested in sharing knowledge and expertise on safe and supportive school environments should email the Safe and Supportive Schools Project.