Bridge HIV Bulletin :: Volume 1, Issue 1 :: July 2013

 Volume 1, Issue 1 | July 2013

 

In this issue:

A Time of Commemoration
A Letter from Dr. Hyman Scott, Research Fellow at Bridge HIV
Local Voices
The Rectal Revolution is Here!
Ask Me Anything on Reddit
An interview with Dr. Dawn Harbatkin
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A Time of Commemoration

The first half of 2013 has been a time of commemoration and important research findings for Bridge HIV. So far this year we’ve celebrated National Black HIV AIDS Awareness Day and National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day by reaching out to these communities that are disproportionately affected by HIV. These awareness days are important reminders of the work we still have to do to end this pandemic.

We also received some news about our HVTN 505 study. We are disappointed to report that the vaccine combination that we have been testing did not provide protection against HIV infection or control the amount of HIV in the blood of people who were HIV infected. Read more about this important research finding here.

Bridge HIV continues to be committed to the fight against HIV, and we want to thank all the volunteers that make our work possible.

 

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A Letter from Dr. Hyman Scott, Research Fellow at Bridge HIV

The National HIV Awareness Days represent an opportunity to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS in our communities through education and testing.

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD) was on February 7th, 2013. Black Americans continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV. While representing approximately 12% of the US population, Black Americans made up approximately 45% of new HIV diagnoses. Young Black men who have sex with men (MSM) have experienced the highest increase in new HIV infections among any group in the US and have become a priority of HIV prevention efforts. NBHAAD was recognized in San Francisco by a rally on the steps of City Hall. Several prominent activists, politicians, and researchers, including our Director Susan Buchbinder, gave rousing speeches before embarking on a candle light vigil through the Tenderloin to Glide Memorial Church. At Glide, community members shared their perspectives and activities. The evening culminated in an inspirational keynote speech by Dr. Malcolm John. We at Bridge HIV are committed to research focused on HIV prevention among Black MSM. We were a research site for HPTN 061, a research study conducted by the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) to examine certain strategies that may slow the spread of HIV among Black gay, bisexual and other MSM. The study also sought to better understand the lives of Black MSM and how factors in their lives relate to HIV risk. The study began enrolling participants in July 2009 and completed follow up in December 2011. Bridge HIV is currently conducting a research study to develop strategies to support home HIV self-testing among young Black and Latino MSM in San Francisco and Oakland, CA.

National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NNHAAD) is on the first day of Spring, March 20th, 2013. The impact of the HIV/AIDS in the Native community is often underappreciated based on the total number of annual HIV/AIDS cases. However, HIV/AIDS rates per 100,000 of the population provide a more accurate perspective on the impact of HIV/AIDS in specific communities. For example, in 2010 American Indian/Alaska Natives had an HIV rate of 11.0/100,000 and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander had a rate of 19.0/100,000, which were both higher than the rate of both Whites and Asians. Native people make-up a diverse community with 562 federally recognized tribes plus at least 50 state-recognized tribes. Given this diversity, the development of culturally appropriate advocacy and tailored HIV prevention efforts are essential. Several national and local organizations focused on the Native community, such as the National Native American AIDS Prevention Center and the Bay Area-based Native American Health Center, are working toward these goals.  Bridge HIV is excited to have established a new partnership with the HIV Vaccine Trails Network Legacy Project to engage the Native community in the San Francisco Bay Area through the Native American Engagement in HIV Clinical Research (NAEHCR) Project. A local NNHAAD celebration at the LGBT Community Center on March 20th in San Francisco will include screenings of personal stories, a celebration of life, and a program honoring those who passed on from HIV.

NBHAAD and NNHAAD serve as reminders of how far we have come and the work that still needs to be done to prevent HIV/AIDS and support those living with HIV/AIDS in our communities.  There are approximately 50,000 new HIV infections in the US each year, and addressing the racial/ethnic disparities are of national and local importance. Bridge HIV is committed to the research which will help us achieve health equity for everyone.

Written by Dr. Hyman Scott and Ryan Gonzalez

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Local Voices

At the 2013 Generations: Black LGBT History Experiences, an annual event that celebrates the lives of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people throughout history, we asked attendees why it’s significant for us to continue to recognize an African American HIV Awareness Day:

“As someone who works with HIV positive youth, we see a significant number and increase in new HIV cases, especially in the African American community; which means that a lot of messages that are being designed and sent out there are not effective in actually preventing the spread of HIV among African American youth, so it is significantly important to use these forums as a platform to raise awareness in HIV prevention and care especially for black African American youth.”

– Curtis Moore, Executive Director of Bay Area Young Positives

“The cases of African Americans, especially black youth, contracting HIV is still alarming. Out of all the age ranges, African American youth are now number one in most cities around the country as people that are seroconverting and not really understanding or having been properly introduced to safe sex or understanding the contributions that STDs have to contracting HIV. So we are finding that we need to go back out there and do more ground work, or some community activism in educating our youth on how you contract HIV and how HIV and STIs are connected. Again, HIV has been around for a long time, but we want to make sure we keep it upfront and foremost, especially in the black community because it’s affecting our community and it’s going to take us to do the work to educate our own folks about the disease and how they can prevent it – because HIV is 100 percent preventable and we got to get that message through to the young folks and to the older folk as they mentor the young kids going forward”.

– Tony Bradford, Program Manager of Black Brothers Esteem at San Francisco Aids Foundation

 

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The Rectal Revolution is Here!

Join us for the premiere of “The Rectal Revolution is Here” and learn more about an exciting new HIV prevention study on rectal microbicides. For more information about this FREE event, please feel free to contact us or visit our JoinPrEP Facebook page.

Presentations, discussion and light refreshments will follow the film.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013  |  6:30 pm
25 Van Ness Ave @ Market Street, San Francisco, CA

Hosted by Garza.

Sponsored by: JoinPrEP.org, Bridge HIV, Microbicide Trials Network, San Francisco AIDS Foundation, and Be The Generation.

Can’t make it? No worries, we will be live tweeting from JoinPrEP on Twitter. Follow along and ask questions using #RectRev during the event.

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Ask Me Anything on Reddit

Our very own Dr. Liu answered questions about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and Dr. Darpun Sachdev answered questions about HIV vaccines on reddit! Click here to read what Dr. Liu had to say. Click here to read what Dr. Sachdev had to say.

 

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An interview with Dr. Dawn Harbatkin

Check out our Blog!We recently interviewed Dr. Dawn Harbatkin, Executive Director at Lyon-Martin Health Services, to gain a health provider perspective on transgender healthcare and biomedical HIV prevention. Read the full interview on Trials&Vials.

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