Community Health Education and Resiliency Program







Building Trusting Relationships with Youth for Effective Substance Use Prevention 

As adults, it's natural to want to protect our youth from harm and negative influences, including drug and alcohol use. However, an approach of shaming or not trusting our youth may actually be counterproductive. Building trusting relationships with our youth is a key resiliency factor that can be much more effective in preventing substance use. 

Research shows that youth who have trusting relationships with adults are more likely to make healthy choices and avoid risky behaviors, including drug and alcohol use. When youth feel supported, listened to, and valued, they are more likely to seek guidance from adults and make informed decisions. On the other hand, youth who feel judged, criticized, or not trusted may be more likely to rebel and engage in risky behaviors. 

Building trusting relationships with youth requires time, effort, and empathy. It involves being present, actively listening, and showing genuine interest in their lives and experiences. Adults can also support youth by providing a safe and supportive environment, setting clear expectations and boundaries, and being consistent in their behavior. 

By building trusting relationships with our youth, we can help them develop the resiliency skills they need to navigate the challenges of adolescence and make healthy choices. It's important to remember that preventing substance use is not about controlling our youth, but rather about empowering them to make informed decisions that will benefit their overall well-being. 

Youth Mental Health First Aid

Youth Mental Health First Aid is a training for adults who work with youth that teaches information and skills to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental health and substance use challenges among young people ages 12-18. This training is vital for all adults who interact with young people.

Research shows that 1 in 5 young people live with a mental health condition. Adults trained in Youth Mental Health First Aid are better able to support all young people, as the skills gained in the training are not limited to assisting those diagnosed with a mental health condition. Additionally, one of the most significant protective factors for young people is having at least one trusted adult in their lives, and Youth Mental Health First Aid better prepares participants to be a trusted adult in young people’s lives.  

The Proud Indigenous Youth Leaders Program, in collaboration with the CHERP Program, provides Youth Mental Health First Aid Trainings for tribal communities. Since the beginning of the year the program has already trained 100 individuals who work with youth in tribal communities. To learn more about Youth Mental Health First Aid Training contact PIYL Program Coordinator, Tony Quintana, at

Data Spotlight: Youth HIV Testing

This month’s newsletter crosses paths with numerous awareness events, including National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (March 20), National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (April 10), and National Transgender HIV Testing Day (April 18).

Recently released Youth Risk and Resiliency (YRRS) data can let us know something about where we stand on these important public health issues. The YRRS, conducted in late 2021 with New Mexico high school youth, tells us that 5.8% of all youth who took the survey reported ever being tested for HIV. For reference, 30.6% report having ever had sex. Among American Indians (AI/AN) only 28% report having ever had sex. AI/AN sexual behavior appears lower, and accordingly, fewer (4.9%) have ever been tested for HIV, just one percentage point lower than the state-wide high school average.

What this means is that among AI/AN youth who have ever had sex, 17.5% of them have been tested for HIV, a slightly lower number than the state-wide average at 19%. AI/AN youth who report their sexual orientation as “Lesbian, Gay or Bisexual” report some of the highest rates of HIV testing, at 7.1%. “Straight” youth are near average at 4.7%. AI/AN youth who report their gender identity as “Transgender/Genderqueer/Genderfluid” report having been tested for HIV at a rate of 5.2%. More AI/AN youth refrain from sex, but among those who have sex, they are slightly less likely to be tested for HIV. This fact should help direct youth-oriented public health efforts. 

National Transgender HIV Testing Day 

April 18 is National Transgender HIV Testing Day, a day to recognize the importance of routine HIV testing, status awareness, and continued focus on HIV prevention and treatment for transgender and nonbinary people. We can also take this day to educate ourselves on the many prevention challenges, such as stigma and discrimination, that impact HIV health outcomes for our transgender relatives. The trauma and stress from these challenges as well as the related effects of unemployment, homelessness, lack of insurance, among other issues, can create a greater burden on the mental and physical health of transgender individuals. 

As a healthcare organization, we can promote and increase HIV testing among our transgender relatives by utilizing patient-centered communication strategies. Below are some ways to create trusting and respectful relationships that are safe and empowering for our transgender relatives and community seeking HIV testing, counseling, and referral services.

  • When addressing new patients, avoid pronouns or gender terms like “sir” or “ma’am” instead you may just ask, “how may I help you today?”
  • When talking to coworkers about new patients, also avoid pronouns and gender terms, instead use gender-neutral words such as “they.” Never refer to someone as “it.” 
  • If you are unsure about a patient’s preferred name or pronouns, ask politely and privately.
  • Ask respectfully about names if they do not match in your records.
  • Ask only for information that is required.
  • Did you make a mistake? Apologize. 

Online Supply Orders

The Community Health Education and Resiliency Program provides safer sex supplies (condoms, dental dams, lube), HIV Self-Test Kits, Narcan, Fentanyl Test Strips, and Deterra Pouches to individuals and organizations in the IHS Albuquerque Area. Please use the links below to order your supplies.


Safer Sex Supplies and HIV Self-Test Kits:

Narcan, Fentanyl Test Strips, and Deterra Pouches:

For more information about online orders, contact Kurt at


ESCALATE Trainings

ESCALATE Training facilitates transformative and relational change in Ryan White HIV/AIDS Programs (RWHAP) by increasing participants' knowledge and skills to recognize and address HIV-related stigma within their organizations and communities they serve. This happens through a deepening awareness of and practices for cultural humility amongst people with HIV. Trainers create an equitable and transformative environment for RWHAP providers to learn with and from their people with HIV partners.

Upcoming ESCALATE Trainings:

  • Memphis, TN - May 14 - 19, 2023
  • Charlotte, NC - June 18 - 23, 2023
  • Bronx, NY (Dual: English and Spanish) - July 16 - 21, 2023
  • Detroit, MI - August 13 - 18, 2023

Register Now

For more information, please email Christopher J. Paisano at

Biomedical HIV Prevention Summit

April 11-12, 2023

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

Las Vegas, NV

The 2023 Biomedical HIV Prevention Summit is coming to Las Vegas, NV on April 11-12, 2023. Now in it's seventh year, the Summit's continuing focus has been on the implementation of biomedical tools in our prevention and treatment efforts to ultimately end the HIV epidemic in communities.

This year's Summit will lean into sex and pleasure. Since sex is the main way that HIV is transmitted, we need to focus on consensual sex in all of its iterations. We'll talk about kink, fetishes, sex work, etc. in an open, honest, and frank way. After all, if we can't talk about sex, how can we talk about HIV prevention?

For more information


Register for the Circle of Harmony Conference Here

NM Community Planning and Action Group Meetings - May 9-10, 2023

To join the NM CPAG list serve, email Andrew Gans at

If you have events you want to include in our monthly newsletter, please send them to Kurt at

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