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MVP Studio and Spa hosts awareness event on HIV and AIDS prevention

LANSING, Ill. (March 19, 2024) – Micki V. is the owner and founder of MVP Studio and Spa. On March 10, Micki hosted a HIV and AIDS Awareness event for women and girls. Micki is a licensed esthetician with a background in public health.

“I would like to continue to bring free health events to the community in 2024 and beyond,” she said.

Micki V. is the owner of MVP Studio and Spa. (Photo: Imani Muhammad)

Micki collaborated with Donna Sinclair, the deputy director of AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF). Sinclair was a client of Micki’s when she asked to do a collaboration for her AIDS and HIV health awareness event for women and girls.

“I wanted to collaborate with Micki because MVP Studio had the demographic that disproportionally impacts women with HIV, and that is women of color.” Sinclair said.

The March 10 event highlighted various organizations and passionate professionals dedicated to HIV and AIDS awareness, prevention, and treatment.

About AHF and Calor

Aids Healthcare Foundation is a global organization that specializes in AIDS treatment, medical care, testing, and advocacy services especially for underserved communities. AHF is the parent organization of Calor, a bilingual affiliate that provides free STI and STD testing for communities in the suburbs of Chicago.

“Calor recognizes that all communities need free testing for HIV and STI’s,” Emily Ajuilar said, the project coordinator for Calor.

AHF and Calor stressed to the Lansing community that they specialize in rapid HIV testing and medical treatment for PrEP vs. PEP.

The March 10 event was held at MVP Studio and Spa. (Photo: Imani Muhammad)

HIV prevention and medications: PrEP vs. PEP

PrEP refers to as pre-exposure prophylaxis. It is taken before possible HIV exposure and works to prevent an HIV infection from forming. It is available as the brand-name pills Truvada and Descovy.

PEP refers to post-exposure prophylaxis and is taken after possible HIV exposure. In
emergency situations, PEP is started within 72 hours after possible exposure.

For rapid HIV testing, AHF provides INSTI, a 60 second HIV-1 and HIV-2 antibody test, so people can know if they’ve been exposed right away. INSTI provides faster results than local health clinics and doctor offices.

INSTI is an HIV test and provides faster results than local health clinics and doctor offices. (Photo: Imani Muhammad)
Donna Sinclair is the deputy director of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. (Photo: Imani Muhammad)

“In a state of emergency such as rape, medications such as PEP or PrEP are included in a rape kit panel.” Ajuilar said.

Organizations such as AIDS Healthcare Foundation care are working with local health clinics and hospitals to readily provide INSTI for patients with an HIV scare and would like their results sooner that the standard 24 to 48 hour period.

Sinclair believes that, through the work of organizations such as AHF, in six years HIV could be a curable disease.

Sinclair said that 18 years ago, medicine didn’t have preventive medications such as PrEP for AIDS and HIV during the epidemic which took place in the late 80s to early 90s.

Out of the Closet Thrift Store

The Out of Closet Thrift Store was founded by Micheal Winestin, the President and Co-Founder of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. The store provides discreet HIV testing without the stigmatization. In the front of the shop there is a store, and in the back, people can get a free STI and STD test.

There are 20 locations all over the U.S. A percentage of any donations the stores receives goes to the AHF pharmacy, clinics, and affiliate organizations so AHF is able to continue to provide free services for the community.

Awareness for women and girls

Dyria Coleman came to last week’s event on behalf of Casa Esperanza, an African American-run organization that provides housing for women and children on the south side of Chicago. Coleman said she looks forward to spreading awareness about AHF to the Casa Esperanza community.

“The program was very informative,” she said.

Free literature and information was provided by AIDS Healthcare Foundation at the event. (Photo: Imani Muhammad)

Coleman said she plans to also share some of the information with her 17-year-old daughter. She hopes to spread the word to other young adults, as she said more and more schools have discontinued sexual education courses.

Lisa Vaughan, manager at MVP Studio and Spa, stated that she learned a lot at the event.

“I did not know anything about the female condom before today,” Vaughan said.

Sinclair did a presentation on the multipurpose functionality of the condom. It can be used to protect women from sexual assault for those inebriated at a party. It also protects from skin to skin contact, which is the cause of some sexually-transmitted diseases.

KeShaun Harding, a nurse practitioner, expressed her hope that MVP Studio and Spa can
host more free health events in the future.

“The best way to get the word out about the Aids Healthcare Foundation is to continue to have more community gatherings such as this one,” she said.

Harding said that prior to coming to the event she didn’t know that HIV has impacted more women compared to the widely spread myth that HIV disproportionately impacts members of the LGBTQ community.

Local residents can learn more about the myths and misconceptions about HIV and AIDS by following ADF on Instagram @ahfchicago.


Imani Muhammad
Imani Muhammad
Imani Muhammad is completing her Masters at Newhouse School of Public Communications. She has been published in both poetry and journalistic settings and is dedicated to bringing truthful and captivating stories to her audience.