Healthy Living Projects provides our community with HIV prevention education and support services needed by individuals at-risk for or living with HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. Our mission is to enhance the quality of life for the Greater Kansas City at-risk population through:
- • providing discreet, comfortable, and confidential testing/counseling services for HIV and syphilis outside of a clinical/medical setting,
- • acknowledging and supporting cultural sensitivities and the needs of our clients,
- • linking those in need to qualified community resources,
- • developing collaborative partnerships with community agencies for broader outreach and impact.
Our direct serivce area includes Johnson, Leavenworth, Miami and Wyandotte counties in Kansas.
Healthy Living Projects was founded in 2000 by a group of leaders who saw a need to provide HIV/AIDS prevention in Johnson County Kansas. It would be the first and only AIDS Service Organization in Johnson County, as prior to that, all HIV/AIDS prevention and testing services were only provided in Missouri or through the Johnson County Health Department. Realizing the importance of targeting MSM (men who have sex with men) and others at risk for HIV/STDs in the Johnson County area, the founders felt a grass roots organization would be necessary to fill that need. With the support of Shawnee Mission Unitarian Church, Johnson County Health Department, and numerous volunteers, "4Healthy Living" was created. The name was later changed to Healthy Living Projects (HLP) when it received non-profit status in 2006.
At that time, monthly advertising through local alternative newspapers instantly garnered over 100 responses. HLP began to provide weekly testing and monthly educational workshops on relationships, substance abuse, nutrition, physical health screenings, spiritual health, sexual decision making, and HIV and STD prevention. As a result, education efforts, testing, and behavioral interventions became a huge success.
In 2002, HLP received its first grant funding from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to provide prevention, education, and counseling and testing in Johnson and Miami Counties. In 2006, we relocated our office into our current address at 95th and Antioch.
Today, HLP still offers a weekly testing clinic on Tuesdays and Thursdays. One of our original programs, Healthy Transitions, is still in existence, and we also host an HIV peer support group. Fifteen years later, HLP is still the only HIV/AIDS specific organization in Johnson County.
Healthy Living Projects Staff and Volunteers
Holly S. Pittman, BSE, CHES: Executive Director
Holly has been working in the field of HIV/AIDS for 20 years. She started as a volunteer at the Douglas County AIDS Project in 1993. Holly has a B.S. in Community Health from the University of Kansas and was a Price Fellow at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. Holly left her position as the Human Sexuality Program Coordinator for Johnson County Health Department to join the HLP team in June 2009. She has provided and coordinated HIV/AIDS education and outreach in Region 2 for the past 12 years. Holly has been a presenter at numerous national, regional, and local conferences on HIV over the year. Holly was also part of a pilot project at the University of Washington/National Institute of Health online study, reaching out to MSM through the internet. Her professional affiliations include the American Public Health Association (APHA) and American School Health Association (ASHA).
Chad Steele: Testing Counselor
Chad is a Kansas Certified HIV Counselor who has worked and volunteered in HIV prevention since 2010.
Terry Cushman: Testing Counselor
Terry is a HIV Testing Counselor certified in the states of Kansas and Missouri. He has worked in HIV prevention since 2000.
Rob Land: Testing Counselor and Healthy Living Group (peer support group) Facilitator
Rob has been involved in HIV prevention, care, and community advocacy at local, regional, state and national levels since 2009.