SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) — An event was held on Thursday to increase awareness and treatment for people who contract HIV through Intimate Partner Violence. This event, which was held at the MassMutual Center, is all about informing people and caregivers in order to better educate and protect them from HIV.

The I-Matter Network of the YWCA of Western Massachusetts has been working to prevent HIV infection through Intimate Partner Violence with prevention programs, screening, and response services since 2020. At Thursday’s conference they shared information about the work they have been doing in the Springfield community in order to better addresses and stem the spread of HIV for people in these violent relationships.

“So in Springfield we are actually one of the largest cities in the state and we account for twice the HIV infection rates in the entire state of Massachusetts. So we are second to Boston on women living with HIV. Springfield is really key in addressing the intersection of both Intimate Partner Violence and HIV as both are very prevelent here,” expressed Chelsea Isom, the HIV Project Coordinator of I-Matter Network, YMCA.

This is the organization’s first large-scale event. In addition to stemming the spread of HIV, they also hope to reduce the stigma some minority communities have around seeking help and information.

Members of the I-Matter Network hope the event leads to better care and education in the Springfield community.