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Higher Education
UH to Host Panel Discussion on HIV/AIDS in Texas and the Southern United States
Press Release
Wednesday, January 31, 2018

HOUSTON, January 31, 2018 – In recognition of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (Feb. 7), the University of Houston is hosting a panel discussion on the epidemic in Texas and the Southern United States.  Leaders in HIV/AIDS research and policy will address the issues.

WHO: Panelists are available for one-on-one interviews and include:

  • Douglas Brooks, senior director of community engagement, Gilead Sciences, and former director of the Office of National AIDS Policy under the Obama administration
  • Charlene Flash, M.D., assistant professor of medicine, Section of Infectious Diseases, Baylor College of Medicine
  • Samira Ali, Ph.D., LMSW, assistant professor, University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work
  • Venita Ray, public policy manager, Legacy Community Health
  • Steven Vargas, case manager, the Association for the Advancement of Mexican-Americans

WHAT: The Houston panel discussion on Feb. 7 (National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day) is an opportunity to hear from local leaders about efforts to address HIV/AIDS to date, continued challenges in Texas, and how the Gilead COMPASS Initiative™ will help support organizations working in local communities to address HIV and the multiple issues that contribute to and exacerbate the epidemic. Local government officials, influencers and the media will be invited to participate in the discussion.

WHEN: Wednesday, Feb. 7, 10 – 11 a.m.

WHERE: Hilton University of Houston, Waldorf Room, 4450 University Drive, Houston, TX 77204

                Map it: Location of event

WHY: In Houston, the number of people diagnosed with HIV is twice the national average; and among Houston residents living with diagnosed HIV, 50 percent are black and 27 percent are Latino (data from 2015 via AIDSVu). HIV is having a profound – and growing – impact in the Southern United States, despite overall progress against HIV in the U.S. According to the CDC, eight of the 10 states with the highest rates of new HIV diagnoses are in the South, and this part of the country lags behind other regions in most HIV prevention and care indicators.

BACKGROUND: In December, the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work announced they would be working with Gilead Sciences for the Gilead COMPASS Initiative – an unprecedented $100 million investment over 10 years in the Southern United States, supporting organizations working to end HIV/AIDS by addressing demographic and geographic disparities in the region.

Remembering Jim Guidry M3 Global Medical Missions

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