INSIDE UPMC - Public health alumnae & RPCVs Marilyn Blasingame (IDM '16) and Ingrid Godfrey (IDM '18), and IDM professor Linda Rose Frank discuss their work on the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS and its co-morbidities through the MidAtlantic AIDS Education & Training Center (MAAETC), which recently was awarded $14.2 million from the Department of Health and Human Services to continue the center’s work for the next five years
INFECTION CONTROL TODAY - IDM's Robbie Mailliard and Charles Rinaldo are on the quest to cure HIV using an all-in-one immunotherapy approach that not only kicks HIV out of hiding in the immune system but also kills it. The key lies in immune cells designed to recognize an entirely different virus.
AIDS AND BEHAVIOR - Chandler C, Bukowski LA, Egan JE, Hawk M, Matthews D, Markovic N, Stall R revealed that tere were synergies among depression, problematic binge drinking, and poly-drug usebut these pschosocial factors cannot entirely explain testing patterns and excess disease burden among BMSM.
JOURNAL OF VIROLOGY - Using samples from participants in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort study, Garcia-Bates, Palma, Shen, Gambotto, Macatangay, Ferris, Rinaldo, and Mailliard showed that PD-1 activation plays a positive role in initiating the primary T cell response. But later blocking of that pathway can enhance the overall magnitude of the immune system’s ability to remember and respond to HIV.
KDKA-AM - More than 30 years after HIV was uncovered there is still no AIDS vaccine, but IDM's Linda Frank, who heads the MidAtlantic AIDS Education and Training Center, says, “People who are uninfected can take anti-retrovirals to prevent them from getting HIV infected. This is so wonderful.” Frank says the new frontier in HIV treatment is in conjunction with diseases like hepatitis, sexually transmitted disease, and substance abuse.
POST GAZETTE - Allegheny County health officials are reporting progress in the fight against AIDS by reducing new HIV cases. A key part of this effort is education. The MidAtlantic AIDS Education and Training Center, led by Linda Frank, has been involved in efforts to fight AIDS for the past 30 years. The World AIDS Day 2018 conference “is about the new treatments and advancements to help us get to zero new cases,” says Frank.
ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - Named in honor of English physician John Snow (1813-1858), considered one of the founders of modern epidemiology, this annual award recognizes outstanding scientists for enduring contributions to public health through epidemiologic methods and practice. Burke said, "I find great personal satisfaction in the knowledge that my life-long research efforts have helped to improve global health and well-being." Congratulations, De...
Pitt Public Health alumna and professor, Mary Hawk (BCHS '12) is a founding member of this local housing program that uses harm reduction and housing-first approaches to engage marginalized people living with HIV/AIDS in clinical care. Hawk published the first study to use HIV viral load to measure the impact of the housing-first model of care on homeless people living with HIV/AIDS and she was awarded the Catherine Cartier Ulrich Memorial Award...
UPMC HEALTH NEWS – In the late 1990s, new and highly potent anti-HIV drugs emerged— including protease and reverse transcriptase inhibitors—which could for the first time control HIV infection. For this 1998 World AIDS Day, Pitt IDM AIDS researcher Charles Rinaldo and the late Bridget Murtagh of the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force address transmission, drug resistance, and the radically prescient question of whether HIV could be cured.
IDM's DERRICK MATTHEWS explains Pitt Public Health's work on HIV/AIDS and where we are today. "If you're a black gay man in the U.S., you have a one in two change in your lifetime of becoming HIV positive…short of the cure that we’re looking for, the biology is way ahead of the social implementation science."
The MidAtlantic AIDS Education and Training Center hosted a conference that brought together regional experts to explore ways to increase awareness of the opioid and Hepatitis C epidemics affecting women and infants in Southwestern Pennsylvania. One outcome of note: they identified solutions to improve the current care model of clinical and behavioral health care for women of childbearing age who are opioid users.
Doctoral candidate, DIANA DeLUCIA (IDM '19), presented some of her dissertation research on how the cholesterol levels in immune cells might be impacting HIV infection and disease progression to AIDS. It was found that antigen-presenting cells in nonprogressors have lower cholesterol levels which is associated with their inability to pass virus on to other cells.
IDM's GIOVANNA RAPPOCCIOLO presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections on biomarkers and genetics of cell cholesterol dysregulation in HIV non-progressors. Co-authors include IDM faculty J MARTINSON and C RINALDO and recent doctoral graduate DIANA DELUCIA.
Helping out with The United States President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Country Operational Plan submission, EMERSON EVANS (IDM '12) is currently working in South Africa on detail with the CDC.
CHONGYI WEI (BCHS '09) recently moved from the University of California, San Francisco to join the faculty at the Rutgers School of Public Health. His primary research focuses on the epidemiology and prevention of HIV/AIDS among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Asia and in the U.S. He is interested in creating innovative strategies to increase HIV testing uptake among MSM and improve access to care and treatment among HIV-infected MSM.
THE BODY - Long-term survivors of HIV have experienced relentless trauma over the course of several decades, resulting in a syndrome unique to this population called AIDS Survivor Syndrome. Until now, there has been no scientific research to validate it. BCHS’ RON STALL became interested, noting that "street epidemiology tends to be pretty correct and street wisdom raises questions that are worth looking into very carefully."
In 2012, a year before completing her MPH, CHRISTINA FARMARTINO (IDM ’13) was hired as executive director of The Open Door, which provides supportive housing and representative payee services to individuals living with HIV/AIDS—including active injection drug users—to improve their health and housing stability. Among other duties, Farmartino has raised more than $250,000 over three years in additional, diversified funding.
INSIGHT INTO DIVERSITY - The school began to seriously investigate LGBTQ health topics in the early 2000s, according to BCHS's RON STALL. “In terms of sexual minority health, a majority of public funding has always gone to HIV/AIDS research, and other disparities for [gay men] were relatively unaddressed,” he explains. “For other populations, like trans women and lesbian or bisexual populations, the basic research had never even been done.”
TITUSVILLE HERALD - Community members and students from Pitt's Titusville campus gathered to hear IDM's LINDA FRANK discuss drug misuse versus drug abuse, the opioid epidemic's relation to to the spread of HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C, available prevention and treatment strategies, and the implications for health professionals, families, community members, and local organizations.
YOUTUBE - IDM's Mailliard presents his research on “kick and kill” strategies at the 9th IAS Conference on HIV Science, the world's largest open scientific conference on HIV and AIDS-related issues. The work demonstrates that naïve T cells have the ability to effectively target the HIV-1 reservoir, highlighting the importance of directing HIV-1 curative strategies towards the induction of de novo rather than memory HIV-1-specific CTL responses. ...