A center based at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health is being awarded a four-year, $10.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Bureau of HIV/AIDS to continue its award-winning work preventing the spread of HIV and improving care to people infected with the virus.
The MidAtlantic AIDS Education & Training Center (AETC) serves health professionals in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and Washington, D.C., and has been headquartered at Pitt Public Health since 1988.
“We are pleased to continue our work improving access to quality HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care throughout our region,” said principal investigator Linda Frank, Ph.D., M.S.N., F.A.A.N., associate professor of infectious diseases and microbiology at Pitt Public Health. “Though great strides have been made in antiretroviral drug therapies that improve clinical outcomes, HIV/AIDS is still a significant public health issue. Health professionals must make HIV testing routine to reduce disparities in access to prevention and treatment and thus reduce stigma associated with the disease. The center educates and provides consultation and technical assistance to individual clinicians, agencies, clinics and programs to increase capacity within the region to provide prompt care to people who need it.”
The center provides on-site and distance-based interventions for health professionals and targets physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, advanced practice nurses, physician assistants, dentists, pharmacists, social workers and other members of the intraprofessional treatment team.
“We give clinicians the knowledge and skills to offer and conduct HIV testing and provide proper treatment for not only the infection itself, but also for other co-occurring disorders and issues, such as hepatitis, sexually transmitted infections, substance use, psychological issues and homelessness,” said Dr. Frank.
The training also helps clinicians and team members to develop skills to support people with HIV and those at risk for infection.
The Pitt center is one of eight AETC programs established around the country and is funded through HRSA grant number U1OHA29295.