A Reading-based nonprofit is getting some help in its efforts to prevent HIV and sexually transmitted diseases.

The Highmark Foundation announced Monday that it has awarded $9,500 to Co-County Wellness Services.

The organization, which serves both Berks and Schuylkill counties, will use the money to increase access to HIV/STD prevention programs, decrease the stigma associated with HIV/STDs, and normalize conversations about HIV/STD prevention options through its "We're Doing It Berks" social media campaign.

"HIV/AIDS continues to be a pervasive public health issue, and we now know there is a link between HIV and STDs," said Yvonne Cook, the president of the Highmark Foundation. "By reducing barriers and getting individuals into care earlier, these organizations can improve health outcomes for the most vulnerable populations in the communities they serve."

The Highmark Foundation is a private, charitable organization of Highmark Inc.