Dr. Wechsberg developed the Woman-Focused HIV Prevention program, known as the Women’s CoOp, which has been funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) for more than 10 years and is one of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) best-evidence HIV behavioral prevention interventions.
The program has been adapted specifically for underserved and vulnerable adult and adolescent women in the US, and in multiple regions in South Africa, Republic of Georgia and in Russia. One South African adaptation (the Women’s Health CoOp) is listed in the USAID Gender and HIV Compendium for African projects as “promising practices” and has been packaged, pilot tested and is ready for scale up throughout South Africa and other regions. The theoretical framework of the women’s intervention is based on empowerment theory, which helps women to “take charge” of their lives by reducing substance use and learning sexual negotiation and communication skills. Dr. Wechsberg is trained as an addiction specialist and community psychologist and is currently working in North Carolina and South Africa.