UGA experts offer commentary on World AIDS Day
November 17, 2011Print
Athens, Ga. - University of Georgia experts are available to provide commentary on HIV/AIDS in connection with World AIDS Day on Dec. 1, the day set aside to focus on the implications and cures of the AIDS virus. The theme for this year's World AIDS Day is "Leading with Science, Uniting for Action."
HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, has become one of the world's most serious health and development challenges. AIDS.ORG estimates that 33.4 million people currently are living with HIV/AIDS worldwide, and more than 25 million people have died of AIDS since the first cases were reported in 1981. In the U.S. an estimated 1.7 million people have been infected with HIV, including more than 615,000 who have died and more than 1.1 million estimated to be living with the disease today. Every nine-and-a-half minutes, someone in the U.S. is infected with HIV.
According to the World Health Organization, most people living with HIV or at risk for HIV do not have access to prevention, care and treatment; and there is still no cure. Despite these challenges, there have been successes and promising signs. New global efforts have been mounted to address the epidemic, particularly in the last decade. Prevention has helped to reduce HIV prevalence rates in a small but growing number of countries, and new HIV infections are believed to be on the decline. In addition, the number of people with HIV receiving treatment in impoverished countries has increased.
UGA's experts, their contact information and their areas of expertise are listed below. For more information, contact UGA News Service at 706/542-8083 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Denise R. Davison, Academic Professional Associate
School of Social Work
Office phone: 678/985-6792
For the past 18 years, Davison has passionately led the fight against HIV/AIDS and health disparities in the African American community through prevention education, community outreach and research. She has served as a trainer and curriculum reviewer for the American Red Cross African-American HIV/AIDS Prevention Education program. As the former national HIV/AIDS task chairperson for the National Association of Black Social Workers, she helped establish a critical response from social work professionals of African ancestry to the crisis. Davison is the recipient of numerous awards for her work with the Balm in Gilead and Black Church Week of Prayer for the Healing of HIV/AIDS.
Su-I Hou, Associate Professor
Department of Health Promotion and Behavior
College of Public Health
Office phone: 706/542-8206
Hou's research areas include HIV/AIDS preventive research especially among late adolescents and young adults, ethnic minority groups and older adults; cancer screening education and prevention (cervical, colorectal and ovarian); international health particularly of the Asian population; eHealth promotion and communication especially among middle and older age adults; survey instrument development and validation; intervention mapping; evaluation of health programs; and service-learning and community-based participatory research.
Donald Harn, Professor
College of Veterinary Medicine
Office phone: 706/542-4569
Harn's work has focused on the development of HIV-1 vaccines and HIV-1 research. Among the many goals of his laboratory, Harn is working to develop an HIV-1 vaccine that will function in sub-Saharan Africa populations where the highest prevalence and greatest negative impact of HIV-1/AIDS is seen. In addition to the great difficulty in developing any vaccine for HIV-1, many of the individuals in sub-Saharan Africa also are infected with one or more helminth parasites. Helminth parasites often compromise immune systems, making it likely that the immune systems may not respond to a HIV-1 vaccine. To date, his lab has discovered that a bacterial vector HIV-1 vaccine works equally well in helminth-infected recipients.
Note to editors: UGA's Public Health Association, a graduate student organization in the College of Public Health, has announced plans for an AIDS benefit walk on April 7, 2012. Details will be announced at a later time.
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