Community to discuss new HIV science

On May 30, organizers from Middle Tennessee will present an open forum entitled Putting Discovery into Practice: How New HIV Science Benefits Our Community. Four Vanderbilt University physicians whose work includes various types of HIV/AIDS research will be present to answer questions about how the latest findings impact HIV treatment and prevention.

A year ago at a similar Nashville forum, San Francisco AIDS activist Martin Delaney predicted an imminent paradigm shift in treatment. Last month, at a Florida conference for persons living with HIV/AIDS, he declared victory. 

Delaney jubilantly opened his talk with the statement “this changes everything - for those who need it most!” Describing the effectiveness of the newest anti-HIV medications, including two from brand new drug classes, he proclaimed, “Now, nearly everyone in the United States should be able to achieve an undetectable viral load.”

The new drugs present an unprecedented opportunity for those who’ve developed resistance to get their viral load under control, but advocates emphasize it is important that physicians with specific expertise help to design regimens. 

“We have a number of new really potent options, “ commented Delaney, “and we may not be in this situation again for a number of years. Don’t blow this chance.” 

Meanwhile, research on how to best use new drugs continues, as does the search for answers to other treatment questions. The HIV positive community wants to know if vaccines designed to prevent shingles and HPV infection are safe and useful for them. Recent reports cite studies showing anal cancers are much more likely to appear in HIV positive men who have sex with men than in others. The need to better understand the potential of existing and new prevention strategies continues to drive research interest.

“Putting Discovery Into Practice” will be presented by the Vanderbilt AIDS Clinical Trials Center Community Advisory Board and the Tennessee AIDS Education and Training Center (Comprehensive Care Center.) It will begin at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday evening, May 30, at the Holiday Inn Select Vanderbilt on West End Avenue in Nashville. 

A dinner buffet will be provided thanks to the support of Nashville Pharmacy Services and Roche Laboratories, Inc. Please RSVP to Catherine J. Bays at cbays@sedev.org or 423-424-4270. (If you’d like a return call, don’t forget to leave your number.)  Additional information and updates can be found on the forum's Web site www.discoverymatters.org.

Additional collaborators include Out & About Newspaper, Nashville Pride, Planned Parenthood of Middle & East Tennessee, Southeast Tennessee Development District, Tennessee Association of People With AIDS, Tennessee Department of Health HIV/AIDS/STD section, and the Vanderbilt HIV Vaccine Program Community Advisory Board.

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