CDC’s Eugene McCray discusses HIV prevention advances from AIDS 2018 in Amsterdam

Eugene McCray MD

From AIDS.gov

Advances in HIV prevention and program implementation were among the topics in the spotlight at the 22nd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2018) this week. Eugene McCray, MD, Director of CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention (DHAP)

reflects on some of the conference highlights. The division he oversees works to prevent HIV infections and reduce the incidence of HIV-related illness and death across the United States. Read more about their work.

During a live interview on Facebook, Dr. McCray discussed research being presented by CDC researchers at the conference, other HIV prevention research findings shared here at the conference, and shares his personal reflection on what how it feels like to be at this conference at this stage of the epidemic.

Watch the video.

Thousands gather Downtown as Pittsburgh shows its Pride

From the Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Members of the LGBTQ community and supporters came out in full force Sunday for the EQT Equality March and Pride Fest in Downtown Pittsburgh — events that celebrate gay rights.

This year’s parade had an attendance of tens of thousands. At one point, an announcement over the loudspeaker said this year’s parade was larger than the city’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities. It also was supported by a number of corporate sponsors and religious organizations.

Click here to go to the Post Gazette Video

“To see all these companies coming out and supporting us indicates there is more inclusiveness in the workplace,” said Craig Skvarka, 42, of Banksville. “There were a few [corporate sponsors] in years past. But there are more now.

The Pride march is an opportunity for people in the gay community to express their individuality. The streets were teeming with rainbow colors — representing the coming together of different sexual orientations — worn on capes, T-shirts and flags.

“It’s a way of expressing who we really are and allowing everyone to be comfortable in Untitled-3our own skin,” said Alayna Mott, 23, of Ambridge. “It means a lot to me because I am part of this community and I feel accepted by all around me.

See the video and read the article here.

Six things you need to know for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

From thebody.com

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, observed every year on February 7, is a good time to remind the general public of the racial disparities in HIV infection that persist in the United States. Year after year, African-Americans continue to shoulder the heaviest burden of HIV.

Greg Millett (Credit: amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research)

Greg Millett (Credit: amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research)

“If you don’t have access to healthcare and you’re HIV-positive, you’re less likely to be on medication or virally suppressed, and therefore more likely to transmit HIV,” said amfAR vice president and director of public policy Greg Millett. “We also have to do a better job of reducing HIV stigma because it keeps people from being tested for HIV, and it keeps people who are HIV-positive from seeking care because they’re afraid they’ll be discriminated against. And that is what continues to fuel the epidemic.”

According to Millett, to effectively address the racial disparities in the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the U.S., we need to continue raising awareness about how HIV disproportionately affects the black community, urge our policymakers to prioritize HIV prevention and treatment resources to the hardest hit communities, such as black gay men, and improve care for HIV-positive black women and injecting drug users.

Discrimination, stigma, poverty, and lack of access to healthcare contribute to the disproportionate burden of HIV among black Americans. This is most notably the case in regions with large black populations like the American South where approximately half of the nation’s new HIV infections occur, with black Americans accounting for nearly 80 percent of them. In general, African-Americans are less likely than whites to have private health insurance.

Read the full article.

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.

30th anniversary celebration of PATF honors Dr. Tony Silvestre

Hundreds gathered at the WQED studios in Oakland on Thursday, April 14th at a fundraiser to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force. The evening’s honoree, Dr. Anthony Silvestre received the prestigious Kerry Stoner Award in recognition of his extraordinary efforts in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

Tony Silvestre, PhD - Professor at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

Tony Silvestre, PhD – Professor at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

Dr. Silvestre became an integral part of the Pitt Men’s Study—a groundbreaking research project at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health—in the early days of the AIDS epidemic. Silvestre, known for his experience in community organization, recruited 4,000 participants from the greater Pittsburgh area—the vast majority of whom would spend the next 33 years donating blood and answering in-depth sexual health questions as a means to understand and therefore combat the disease. The Pitt Men’s Study played a key role in research that not only helped determine how the virus was spread, but also the effectiveness of modern anti-viral medications (also known as HAART).

In addition to the Kerry Stoner Award, Silvestre also received a citation honoring his achievements in combating HIV/AIDS statewide from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

“People don’t realize that this disease is still tragically affecting many—with young black gay kids at a rate as high as in some developing nations. Those who are marginalized by race, age and sexual orientation are not on anyone’s agenda and, as a result, are often left out of the health care system,” Silvestre commented at the event. “That’s why we need organizations like PATF and the Pitt Men’s Study.”

For most of his adult life, Silvestre was central to the LGBTQ community in Southwestern Pennsylvania, lending his skills and experience to effect positive change for marginalized communities. In addition to his efforts with the Pitt Men’s Study, he worked to establish a Center for LGBT Health Research within the Graduate School of Public Health and is currently the co-director of the HIV Prevention and Care Project—an organization also within the University that provides technical assistance to the Pennsylvania Department of Health in creating a state-wide response to the AIDS epidemic.

The Kerry Stoner Award is presented annually to honor a person who has, through a longtime dedication to Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force’s mission, shown commitment to Kerry Stoner’s legacy and vision. Stoner, a tireless HIV/AIDS activist who died of complications from AIDS in 1993, was a founder and the first Executive Director of the PATF.

The PATF 30the anniversary event raised over $100,000 in support of people living with HIV/AIDS and in support of the PATF HIV prevention programs.

 

National Coalition of STD Directors honors April as National STD Awareness Month

Washington, D.C. – Every April, the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD) is proud to join its member health departments, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other partners to recognize April as National STD (sexually transmitted diseases) Awareness Month.  With the reality that last year, for the first time since 2006, rates for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis all increased concurrently, we dedicate this month to renewing the fight against STDs and refocus our members, ourselves, and our communities on sexual health and STD prevention.

“At a time when we are seeing skyrocketing STD rates, particularly rates of syphilis, we know that STD programs in state and local health departments need more funding, providers of all kinds need to scale up STD screening, and we need a renewed focus on encouraging condom use,” stated William A. Smith, Executive Director of the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD).

logoIn 2014, for the third year in a row, reported cases of primary and secondary syphilis – the stages where the infection is most likely to spread – have increased by double digits.  In 2012, primary and secondary syphilis increased by 11 percent, in 2013, by 10 percent, and in 2014, by a shocking 15 percent.  Monitoring and controlling these STD epidemics are state, territorial, and local public health STD programs, which are the backbone of our national STD infrastructure.  However, the current public health infrastructure has been continually strained by budget reductions at the federal, state, and local levels and is cannot sufficiently prepare for the reality of rising rates of STDs, and other outbreaks.

To bring attention to these growing needs, NCSD will be hosting a Congressional Briefing On April 13th, titled “Syphilis Resurgence and Why STD Programs Are Critical to the Nation’s Health.”  To bring this message home, NCSD will also be mailing “syphilis and gonorrhea to the Hill” in the form of mailing stuffed microbes to all Members of Congress’ offices.  Please contact NCSD’s Director of Policy and Communications, Stephanie Arnold Pang, for additional information on these events.

In addition, to ensure that policymakers and their staff are aware of the importance of STD programs, this year NCSD is sponsoring a Virtual Hill Day for STD Awareness on April 26th.  More information on this opportunity can be found here.  NCSD has also created a number of materials available for members’ and partners’ use to honor STD Awareness Month, including a draft op-ed, and sample social media posts, including a Thunderclap to coincides with the Virtual Hill Day for STD Awareness, which are available on NCSD’s website.

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The National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD) is a partnership of public health professionals dedicated to promoting sexual health through the prevention of STDs. NCSD provides dynamic leadership that strengthens STD Programs by advocating for effective policies, strategies,and sufficient resources by increasing awareness of the medical and social impacts of STDs.
For more information, visit www.NCSDDC.org.  

Save the date: PATF 30th Annual Benefit will be held on April 14

The Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force will host their 30th Annual Benefit at WQED’s Studios on Fifth on Thursday, April 14, 2016.

PATF BenefitThe 30th Annual Benefit is a festive and fun evening that will feature nationally renowned DJ Jeffrey Sfire. Exquisite food and beverages will be provided by Common Plea Catering. The VIP reception begins at 6 p.m. and general admission will begin at 7:30 p.m.

As a part of this event, PATF will present the Kerry Stoner Award — named after PATF’s founder — in recognition of extraordinary service to the community related to HIV care and prevention. This year, we are proud to present this award to our own Dr. Anthony Silvestre, HIV activist and Principle investigator of the Pitt Men’s Study, in honor of his long-time outstanding support of PATF and people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.

 Tickets are on sale now!

Contact Patrick Buehler, Development Associate, for more information: pbuehler@patf.org / 412-345-0593.