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.

National Latino AIDS Awareness Day

National Latino AIDS Awarness DayOctober 15 is National Latino AIDS Awareness Day. Coordinated by the Latino Commission on AIDS, this day encourages Latino  communities to take action against HIV. This year’s theme,You and I Will Defeat AIDS (Tu y Yo Vamos a Derrotar al SIDA), is a call to action to work together to end the spread of HIV. It asks each of us to learn and share the facts about HIV, get tested, and stay in medical care if we are living with HIV.

And for good reason.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the results of a recent study that confirms Latinos are diagnosed with HIV at a rate three times that of whites.

The report was featured in a recent issue of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Based on data from 2008 to 2013 on HIV diagnoses in the U.S. (and six “U.S. dependent areas” including Puerto Rico), the CDC concluded that although HIV infection rates went down for adult and adolescent Latinos overall, they increased three percent among Latino males who have sex with men. The rate of diagnosis—18.7 per 100,000—was nearly three times that of whites (6.6 per 100,000).

To find out more about National Latino AIDS Awarness Day, go to aids.gov. You can find free HIV testing near  you by searching by zip code at gettested.cdc.gov (Espanol)

Introducing #standOUTpgh

10933879_658281264281364_9173789996442469325_nThe #standOUTpgh campaign is a new media driven initiative to help prevent substance abuse and HIV and STDs as well as fight minority stigma among gay and bisexual youth of color and all that self identify as trans no matter their race or age.
#standOUTpgh seeks to change the conversation around subculture and different expressions by giving young minority gay and bisexual men and trans individuals a digital platform to share their stories of uniqueness and responsibility for the world to see!
We hope to engage all community organizations that care about and serve these individuals to participate in support by spreading the word to those who may wish to participate. By defeating stigma and promoting self worth, we can break down one of the largest barriers to getting tested for HIV and STDs, getting prevention messages, and living healthier and happier lives.
How can you help? Learn about the campaign and its corresponding awareness events at www.standout.hiv and follow our social media pages
and share as the pageant unfolds. That’s it! Find us at:
The #standOUTpgh campaign will culminate in 6 events held in celebration of uniqueness and responsibility built around relevant national awareness days. These events will feature HIV/STD testing and prevention counseling. Information on these events will be broadcast via social media and standout.hiv. They are as follows:
  • World AIDS Day: Dec 1, 2014.
  • National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day: Feb 7, 2015.
  • National Youth Violence Prevention Week: March 18-22.
  • National Youth HIV Awareness Day: April 10, 2015.
  • National Prevention Week: May 12-18, 2015.
  • National HIV Testing Day: June 15.
We hope you will join us in building a positive movement behind these communities and shining a spotlight on what makes them stand out!

Weekly clinic geared toward LGBTQ clients in Pittsburgh

research pageFrom The Pittsburgh Post Gazette… 

The first weekly Community Clinic for lesbian, gay and transgender people will be held Thursday in downtown Pittsburgh. The clinic, with physician Stacy Lane, is the only one targeting LGBTQIA individuals with no age limits or income requirements. It will be held on the eighth floor at 810 Penn Ave. from 2 to 5:30 p.m. During the clinic hours, the Garden of Peace Project will supply testing for sexually transmitted diseases and Project Silk will provide HIV testing.

Charmaine Turner, founder and director of Step Up 2 Step Out, will host a hip-hop dance class at 4 p.m. The Garden of Peace Project and Project Silk, which are the hosts, invite other providers to host their own dance classes or other health-related group activities such as yoga, meditation and self-esteem workshops.

February 7 is National Black HIV AIDS Awareness Day

Nat Black HIV wareness dayFriday, February 7 is National Black HIV AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD). There are many ways you can help increase HIV awareness and work to reduce the impact of HIV in the black community in support of NBHAAD. Check out this list of Ten Things You Can Do for NBHAAD. Also, please join the Twitter Town Hall sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and AIDSVu, with the NBHAAD Strategic Leadership Committee (Twitter: @NatBlackAIDSDay) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) (Twitter: @NAACP). The theme is “How do we end the HIV epidemic in Black America?”and will take place on Friday, February 7 at 12 pm Eastern Time.

The hashtag #NBHAADchat will be used for the Twitter Town Hall. Everyone is encouraged to participate. For more information on NBHAAD or to find and NBHAAD event, go to http://nationalblackaidsday.org/.

Today is National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day

Today is National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day (NHAAAD). This year’s theme for NHAAAD is Aging is a part of life: HIV doesn’t have to be.

Whether you are 50+ and living with HIV yourself, or you are taking care of someone older who does, NHAAAD provides an opportunity to bring attention to the complex issues of HIV and aging, and to take action.

Here are three ways you can recognize NHAAAD:

Know Your HIV Status

Share the Facts

Join the Conversation

Want to be a part of today’s dialog on HIV and aging? All you have to do is follow or tweet with the hashtag #NHAAAD Exit Disclaimer on Twitter, post a message on Facebook, or comment on this blog post or other AIDS.gov posts. We want to hear about your plans to observe NHAAAD!

Find out more at AIDS.gov.

Screening of “You Are Not Alone” – depression and Black gay men

Not aloneThe Washington, DC Public Library and DBGM present You Are Not Alone. You Are Not Alone is a documentary in which Black gay men are breaking a taboo and speaking out about their depression, how they coped and survived. This event is free and open to public.

When: Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 1:00 PM Where: Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library (901 G Street, NW, Washington, DC)

There will be a post-screening Q&A/discussion. To RSVP, please contact Turner Freeman either via phone at 202-727-1295 or via email at turner.freeman@dc.gov

Free HIV educational forum at the University of Pittsburgh

hiv forum ad

On Wednesday April 17th at 7 PM, the Pitt Men’s Study will be hosting an HIV Educational Forum at the University Club (123 University Place, Oakland).

The forum will feature speakers and a Q & A session. Dinner will be served at 7:30 PM.

Those wanting to attend must register before April 5, 2013, by emailing Jessica McGuiness at pitteventrsvp@gmail.com, or calling 412-383-1674.

Doors open at 7 p.m., dinner is served at 7:30. Speakers and Q&A sessions will follow.

Sponsored by the Pitt Men’s Study.

Today is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

nbhaad

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is a grassroots effort shaped around the needs of communities that work hard each and every year to make it a success. Annually, nearly 20,000 Black men and women in the United States test positive for HIV, an alarming number, especially if you multiply it by the last 10 years alone. That’s 200,000 people who are now living with HIV or may have died from AIDS-related complications. It’s time for us to do something that inspires young and old, gay and straight, religious and non-religious alike to realize the value and worth of Black life, and act accordingly.

Visit www.nationalblackaidsday.org and AIDS.gov for more information.

Free screening of “Gen Silent”

On Wednesday, October 24 there will be a free screening of “Gen Silent” at the Melwood Screening Room, 477 Melwood Avenue in Pittsburgh. Refreshments will be served at 6 PM. The film starts at 6:30 PM. Gen Silent startlingly discovers how oppression in the years before Stonewall now affects older LGBT people with fear and isolation. For more about the film, go to stumaddux.com.

Watch the trailer: