Sisters Strong is a harm reduction, recovery readiness and relapse prevention program in Syracuse, NY designed to address the special issues women face in preventing the spread of HIV and AIDS and in living with the disease. CCA's staff and peers help women to take steps to reduce their risks and improve their life functioning. As many of the clients served through this program are at risk because of their own substance abuse, the program emphasizes treatment readiness services to help women consider engaging in treatment to reduce or eliminate their use of drugs and the myriad of health compromising consequences associated with drug use.
To serve women who are HIV positive or at risk, have past or present experience of substance use and are directly (self) or indirectly (partner or child) involved in the criminal justice system, CCA creates a safe place filled with education, support and opportunity for growth. The program includes peer counseling, peer-led recovery readiness and relapse prevention workshops, referrals to services and the SISTA intervention. Women are encouraged to become a part of CCA’s Recovery Network of NY.
The program is dedicated to helping women create safety within their environment and empowerment in their daily decisions. The SISTA intervention is an important component of the program. The SISTA (Sisters Informing Sisters about Topics on AIDS) intervention is a social skills training intervention that is peer-led, designed for economically disadvantaged African American and Latino women. The SISTA intervention utilizes Social Cognitive Theory and the Theory of Gender Power and is comprised of five, two-hour sessions delivered by peer facilitators in a gender relevant and culturally sensitive setting. In addition to the five core sessions, CCA adds an additional session: Women and the Criminal Justice System, which brings together the impact on women of criminal justice involvement, substance abuse and relationships.