Did you know that besides from being bitten by a mosquito, you can get Zika by having unprotected sex with someone who already has the virus? Did you also know that women who are already pregnant can be the most adversely affected by Zika? To help combat the spread, Arizona Family Health Partnership applied for and received a grant to provide Zika prevention trainings to providers and protection for those who are at the highest risk if Zika is contracted: women of reproductive age who are not currently pregnant or who are planning to become pregnant in the near future.

AFHP purchased over 270,000 condoms to distribute to healthcare providers statewide, and free trainings are available for healthcare providers to help them educate their patients about avoiding pregnancy if there is an outbreak of Zika here in Arizona. AFHP CEO Bré Thomas said, “We will be doing work that is reaching out to women of reproductive age, and we’re focusing on women that do not want to be pregnant and we’re also focusing on unintended pregnancies.  Ideally helping women avoid an unintended pregnancy so that if the Zika virus becomes prevalent in Arizona, they will be able to control their fertility and wait until they’re ready to have a child.”

ArizonaZika.org is the second website launched by AFHP this year, the first being SEXfyi.org® (which provides information on reproductive health and birth control). The website provides up to date information on Zika as it becomes available, including the symptoms and how to prevent the spread of the virus. Clients can also find their nearest clinic should they need birth control or other reproductive health resources for free or low-cost. On the website you can also find an awesome webinar-based training for Providers on Zika recorder by AFHP’s Clinical Program Manager, Kristin Stookey, which can be found here.

We’ve been busy for the past few months with a project that does double duty as prevention and education for clients and providers. As part of our grant, AFHP decided to create and distribute Zika Prevention Kits (also known as #ZapZika Kits) to health centers across the state of Arizona in counties that are of high risk for local transmission of the Zika Virus. Each kits comes with either 1,000 or 2,000 condoms, a display jar for the clinic’s counter, and informational postcards in both English and Spanish for clients to grab when they’re at the clinic for a visit. We’ve had a few great build sessions, where local volunteers assisted AFHP staff in making a ton of these kits. We’ve begun to distribute the kits to our Delegates as well as other organizations who have requested them, and have sent out 105 kits to date (that’s 157,400 condoms!).

We are so thankful for the support of our community partners and our volunteers for helping with this effort. Here’s to reducing the spread of Zika, one condom at a time!

 – Bari Sprecher, Program and Community Outreach Coordinator