MidAtlantic AIDS Education and Training Center hosts World AIDS Day 2016 conference

nov_labg_worldaidsday2WHAT: To observe the 28th World AIDS Day, The MidAtlantic AIDS Education and Training Center (MAAETC), based at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, will collaborate with UPMC and local HIV/AIDS clinics to host an all-day educational event. The World AIDS Day 2016 conference will bring together experts in the field of HIV to enable physicians, nurses and other HIV care providers to improve care. Experts will discuss prevention including PreP, aging and HIV, antiretroviral treatment, and substance use and HIV. To learn more or register, visit https://www.maaetc.org/events/view/8202.

WHY: Despite advances in HIV treatment, there continues to be an increase in HIV infections. This necessitates routine testing for everyone, to identify and link persons with HIV to care so that they can live longer lives. New treatment is available to prevent HIV infection, and concerns and issues are emerging among persons aging with HIV infection.
WHO: Introductions by Corey O’Connor, councilman, City of Pittsburgh, and Donald S. Burke, M.D., Dean, Pitt Public Health. Speakers include Rachel Levine, M.D., physician general, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Harold Wiesenfeld, M.D., M.P.H., Allegheny County Health Department, and Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC, Donna Gallagher, Ph.D., M.S.N., ANP-BC, F.A.A.N., New England AIDS Education and Training Center, Ken Ho, M.D., M.P.H., medical director, Pitt Men’s Study, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Antoine Douaihy, M.D., medical director, Addiction Medicine, University of Pittsburgh Department of Psychiatry
WHEN: 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 1
WHEREUniversity Club, 123 University Place, Pittsburgh, 15260
Note to Media: To cover this event, contact Allison Hydzik at 412-647-9975 or HydzikAM@upmc.edu.

CDC sending out an SOS over soaring rates of STDs

From the New York Daily News

Every year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) releases an annual report of a national overview of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

The report for 2015 was not encouraging at all. In fact, it was quite discouraging as such STDs as chlamydia and gonorrhea were at an all-time high, including higher rates of syphilis.

Sexually transmitted diseases are typically not discussed in polite conversation. But the less they are talked about, the more of a hidden epidemic they are becoming.

We need to realize that anyone who has sex — oral, anal or vaginal intercourse and genital touching — can get an STD. It doesn’t matter whether you are straight, married, single or gay, everyone is at risk.

Read the full article.

National organizations publish new guide on LGBTQ health advocacy priorities

From LGBT Weekly

The National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund and the National Coalition for LGBT Health have published a new guide on health issues important to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people. Released in advance of the 2016 presidential election, the “10 Key LGBTQ Health Advocacy Priorities Guide” is intended to educate voters on LGBTQ health priorities the two organizations will continue to focus on during the next administration.

“This new guide is like no other as it outlines critical healthcare issues through an intersectional approach. It takes into consideration the realities that make up the everyday lives of LGBTQ people, such as racial injustice, economic injustice, gender inequality, and immigration status,” said Candace Bond-Theriault, Policy Counsel for Reproductive Rights, Health and Justice at the National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund.“We believe that in order to improve the lives and health of all LGBTQ people, a clear understating that these issues overlap is necessary.”

The guide lists the following ten key areas as priorities: advocating for reproductive health, rights and justice; creating an AIDS-free generation, promoting HIV harm reduction, and increasing access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP); expanding public education and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STI) and sexually transmitted diseases (STD); supporting LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness; improving transgender healthcare; addressing religious exemptions and nondiscrimination laws; promoting LGBTQ cultural competency; improving access to mental health; expanding access to affordable health care; and ending violence against LGBTQ people. The guide is available online on the National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund and the National Coalition for LGBT Health’s Web sites.

“We collectively identified, prioritized and defined the issues that effect the LGBT community so that this information can be helpful in looking at how elected officials address these issues,” said Brian Hujdich, Executive Director of the National Coalition for LGBT Health. “The guide empowers LGBTQ individuals to have an impact on the health and wellbeing of our community

through voting and having their voices heard on Election Day this November 8th.”

Both organizations will host workshops, trainings, and informational sessions on these priority health advocacy issues during the 2017 Creating Change Conference Jan. 18-22 and SYNChronicity 2017: the National Conference on HIV, HCV, and LGBT Health, set for April 24-25.

$1 million renovation and expansion of the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force

From the Pittsburgh Trib Review

A recently completed $1 million renovation and expansion of the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force in East Liberty has made Sean DeYoung’s vision a reality.

The project, which took about a year to complete and included a medical clinic expansion, is a step toward PATF’s goal to transition to a fully integrated medical and social-service care organization for people with HIV.

“I’m a social worker, and that’s where the social work field is moving,” said DeYoung, the AIDS Task Force CEO who came aboard last year. “Research has shown that people who can receive all of their medical and social services in one place are much more likely to get the comprehensive level of care they need.”

The population served by PATF has unique challenges in addition to living with HIV/AIDS, DeYoung said.

“Ninety-eight percent of our client base is below the poverty line,” he said, “so they may also face housing challenges and job challenges, which is a huge problem. If you’re worried about getting evicted or not having a place to stay, you’re not going to be worried about taking your medication like you’re supposed to or coming to see your doctor when you need to.”

The renovated PATF center, unveiled at a ribbon-cutting last Tuesday, offers a food pantry, an on-site pharmacy, legal aid, programs for medical case management and federal housing assistance. It also offers an adherence program designed to help patients who struggle to remember to take their medications through personalized texts or phone calls.

Read the full article on the Trib Review online.