Posts Tagged ‘viiv healthcare’

Initial Investment to Help Research, Identify and Apply Innovative Solutions in Baltimore, Maryland and Jackson, Mississippi – Two of the Cities Hardest Hit by HIV/AIDS 


 Research Triangle Park, NC – February 4, 2015 – ViiV Healthcare today announced the launch of a four-year, $10 million initial investment to fuel a concerted community response to the HIV epidemic among Black Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) in Baltimore, Maryland and Jackson, Mississippi, two U.S. cities hard hit by HIV/AIDS. The goal for this new initiative named ACCELERATE!, is to help speed up community-driven solutions to increase access and engagement in supportive HIV care and services by Black MSM. ACCELERATE! aligns with the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and its imperative to focus on communities most disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS.

In recent years, there have been increased efforts to address health disparities and social drivers that contribute to the disproportionate impact of HIV/AIDS in Black communities. However, the data continue to tell the story of an enduring and persistent epidemic among Black Americans, and Black MSM in particular. A recent study in The Lancet found disparities across the HIV Care Continuum –

the series of steps from when a person is diagnosed with HIV through the successful treatment of their infection with HIV medications – with 1 in 3 Black MSM found to be HIV-positive, compared with less than 1 in 10 White MSM. The study also found just 24 percent of Black MSM stay in care and 16 percent achieve viral suppression, compared with 43 percent and 34 percent respectively for White MSM.[i] These devastating data, along with the stories of individuals, families and communities affected, mandate the urgent need for new, community-driven approaches and solutions.

“As we commemorate National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, we are proud to announce our ACCELERATE! Initiative, conceived in collaboration with national and community partners to help address the toll HIV/AIDS continues to take on Black communities,” said Bill Collier, Head of North America, ViiV Healthcare. “It’s our ambition that this investment will help build innovative, community-driven solutions to help reduce the HIV epidemic among Black MSM, and strengthen services and communities to support them.”

The ACCELERATE! Initiative leverages what ViiV Healthcare has gleaned from a range of community stakeholders and builds on available insights, community dynamics, best practices, evaluative measures and the conditions that present persistent challenges in Baltimore and Jackson.

Consistent with other ViiV Healthcare-supported programs conducted over the last five years, this initiative began with a convening of a wide range of stakeholders. The Baltimore meeting was held at Johns Hopkins University and included community representatives, allies, state and local health officials, healthcare professionals and academic researchers. The Jackson meeting was held at the Mississippi State Department of Health’s Office of Epidemiology and included a similar range of voices. These discussions, and other conversations with Black MSM and key stakeholders, confirmed the collective will and commitment to accelerating the response.

David Holtgrave, Ph.D., Professor, Department Chair, and Co-Director of the Center for Implementation Research at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, welcomes the ViiVHealthcare community innovation investment. “The disproportionate impact of HIV among Black MSM in our city is a truly urgent public health issue, and there are unmet public health needs that must rapidly be addressed. We welcome an accelerated response to HIV/AIDS in our own backyard, and appreciate this unique opportunity to participate in a discussion with our colleagues and friends in community organizations, health departments, other academic institutions and those with allied concerns, to help conceive, apply and evaluate innovative and evidence-based services so that we can urgently address this critical health disparity.

“Jackson, Mississippi has alarmingly high rates of HIV infection among young Black men; our city’s infection rates are among the highest in the country. We applaud ViiV Healthcare’s commitment to investing in innovative programs to reduce HIV/AIDS-related health disparities in Jackson. We believe that participation from the private sector is an important complement to our local efforts and programs to reduce these disparities,” said Leandro A. Mena, M.D., MPH, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease and Director, Center for HIV/AIDS Research, Education and Policy at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

The first phase of the ACCELERATE! Initiative will include ethnographic research with Black MSM and community members to identify gaps, assets, challenges and priorities, along with an intensive mapping process. ViiV Healthcare is in discussions with academic centers in Baltimore and Jackson for the Initiative’s research, monitoring and evaluation activities. The insights obtained will help determine the right approach and inform the next phase of this initiative in the effort to reduce the HIV epidemic among Black MSM and affected communities, and strengthen the systems that support and sustain programs that work.

About ViiV Healthcare 
ViiV Healthcare is a global specialist HIV company established in November 2009 by GlaxoSmithKline (LSE: GSK) and Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) dedicated to delivering advances in treatment and care for people living with HIV. Shionogi joined as a shareholder in October 2012. The company’s aim is to take a deeper and broader interest in HIV/AIDS than any company has done before and take a new approach to deliver effective and new HIV medicines, as well as support communities affected by HIV. For more information on the company, its management, portfolio, pipeline, and commitment, please visit www.viivhealthcare.com.

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Congratulations to the grant awardees that will be able to do additional work to improve the barriers and disparities communities in the south face when it comes to HIV&AIDS.  More information can be found below in the official press release.


Positive Action Southern Initiative Commitment Continues with New Grants Awarded to Seven Organizations, Bringing Total Funding for Grassroots Projects to More than 2.8 Million to Date

 

Research Triangle Park, NC – October 20, 2014 – ViiV Healthcare today announced seven Positive Action Southern Initiative grant awardees in Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi for programs focused on reducing disparities in HIV/AIDS linkages to care and treatment among at-risk populations in their communities.  Recipients will receive up to $50,000 per year for a provisional commitment over the next two years to support the following programs:

  • Atlanta Harm Reduction Coalition, Inc., located in Atlanta, GA, will enhance their Linkage to Treatment program and enhance the reach and depth of their services to HIV positive individuals.
  • Brotherhood, Inc., located in New Orleans, LA, will expand their work to address the needs of HIV positive African American transgender persons and men who have sex with men (MSM) who are recently released from prison.
  • Family Services of Greater Baton Rouge, located in Baton Rouge, LA, will enhance their work to address gaps in services for HIV positive individuals recently released from prison.
  • Grace House, Inc., located in Jackson, MS, will expand its supportive services to homeless Mississippians living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.
  • My Brother’s Keeper, Inc., located in Ridgeland, MS, will fill gaps in their current services by expanding HIV prevention and research programs for African American MSM to include case management.
  • SisterLove, Inc., located in Atlanta, GA, will enhance their “Everyone Has A Story” (EHAS) program through a series of trainings/webinars to build the capacity and skills of peer advocates, staff, and volunteers.
  • Someone Cares Inc. of Atlanta, located in Atlanta, GA, will improve their Transforming, Renewing and Unifying Transgender Health Project (TRUTH) intervention to support transgender women of color.

Since its launch in 2010, the Positive Action Southern Initiative has helped to enable effective interventions and quality services to fight HIV in Southern states.  In addition to receiving funding, grantees also become part of the Southern Initiative Network, a resource that supports grantees and grantee finalists through networking activities, including opportunities to share lessons learned with one another and with other community experts. This collaborative network has now grown to include 32 organizations working together to share effective strategies for addressing the HIV/AIDS crisis in the South.

“The Positive Action Southern Initiative is a direct reflection of our commitment to working together with the community to improve outcomes for those populations disproportionately affected by HIV, and we continue to be impressed by the innovative ideas and strong results put forth by the Network,” said Bill Collier, Head of North America, ViiV Healthcare.  “With round six of the program, we’re proud to continue funding effective community-based initiatives, which are essential to meeting the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and reducing HIV-related disparities in the Southern United States.”

Designed to address the gaps in care and treatment documented through the Gardner Cascade[i], the Positive Action Southern Initiative reflects the White House National HIV/AIDS Strategy by directing resources to areas and populations that have the greatest need. The Southern United States is disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS, representing 45 percent of all new AIDS diagnoses.[ii]

“The Southern AIDS Coalition and the Positive Action Southern Initiative were born of the same purpose – to effectively address the disparate impact of HIV on the Southern United States,” said Rainey Campbell, Executive Director of the Southern AIDS Coalition. “We’ve seen how the Southern Initiative supports on-the-ground interventions and collaboration to influence meaningful change across communities in our region.  Expansion of the program helps achieve our shared goals by providing further access to high-quality prevention, treatment and care services in order to reduce new infections and improve quality of life for people living with HIV in the South.”

With particular focus on reducing disparities among African-American and Latino populations, the Positive Action Southern Initiative currently operates in 10 Southern states – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

Racial and ethnic minorities have been disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic, representing 68 percent of all new AIDS diagnoses in 2011, with new infection rates highest among African-American adults and adolescents. [iii]

These health disparities are particularly prevalent in the Southern U.S. In Georgia, 55 percent of new HIV diagnoses were among African Americans in 2012, despite comprising only 31 percent of the population in the state.[iv],[v]  In Louisiana, 69 percent of newly diagnosed HIV cases and 74 percent of newly diagnosed AIDS cases were among African Americans in 2013, though African Americans make up only 32 percent of Louisiana’s overall population.[vi]  In Mississippi, where the highest rate of HIV infections were among African Americans and Hispanics (37 and 13 per 100,000 persons, respectively), African Americans accounted for 75 percent of newly reported HIV infections in 2012, and their rate of infection was six times higher than the rate among Whites.[vii]

About ViiV Healthcare’s Positive Action Program The Southern Initiative is part of ViiV Healthcare’s broader Positive Action program that has empowered community organizations in Africa, Europe, Latin America and Asia over the past 22 years. As a company focused solely on HIV/AIDS, ViiV Healthcare is committed to building on the success of the global program with efforts to support projects in the United States that address areas of greatest need.

When Positive Action was created in 1992 it was the first pharmaceutical company program of its kind to support communities affected by HIV and AIDS. The program targets its funds towards community-focused projects that reach those most affected by HIV, particularly in marginalized or vulnerable populations. These include youth, women and girls, sex workers, injection drug users, MSM, the incarcerated, transgender individuals and gay men. Positive Action works to build capacity in these communities to enable them to tackle stigma and discrimination, to test innovations in education, care and treatment, and to deliver greater and meaningful involvement of people living with HIV.

For more information about Positive Action, please visit: http://www.viivhealthcare.com/community-partnerships/positive-action/about.aspx

 

About ViiV Healthcare  

ViiV Healthcare is a global specialist HIV company established in November 2009 by GlaxoSmithKline (LSE: GSK) and Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) dedicated to delivering advances in treatment and care for people living with HIV. Shionogi joined as a shareholder in October 2012. The company’s aim is to take a deeper and broader interest in HIV/AIDS than any company has done before and take a new approach to deliver effective and new HIV medicines, as well as support communities affected by HIV. For more information on the company, its management, portfolio, pipeline, and commitment, please visit www.viivhealthcare.com.

[i] Gardner EM, McLees, MP, Steiner JF, del Reio, C.  The Spectrum of Engagement in HIV Care and its Relevance to Test-and-Treat Strategies for Prevention of HIV Infection. Clin Infect Dis. 2011; 52 (6): 793-800. 

[ii] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV and AIDS in the United States by Geographic Distribution. http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/factsheets/geographic.htm.  Accessed August 26, 2014.

[iii] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV Surveillance by Race/Ethnicity (through 2011). http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/pdf/statistics_surveillance_raceEthnicity.pdf. Accessed August 26, 2014.

[iv] The Georgia Department of Public Health.  Fact Sheet: HIV Surveillance, Georgia, 2012. http://dph.georgia.gov/sites/dph.georgia.gov/files/HIV_EPI_Fact_Sheet_Surveillance_2012.pdf.  Accessed September 18, 2014.

[v] United States Census Bureau.  State & County Quick Facts. Georgia. http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/13000.html.  Accessed September 18, 2014.

[vi] Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, Office of Public Health, STD/HIV Program (SHP). Louisiana HIV/AIDS Surveillance Quarterly Report, June 30, 2014. http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov/assets/oph/HIVSTD/hiv-aids/2014/Second_Quarter2014.pdf.  Accessed September 18, 2014.

[vii] Mississippi State Department of Health. HIV Disease 2012 Fact Sheet.  http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/_static/resources/5070.pdf.  Accessed September 18, 2014.

U.S. Media Inquiries Marc Meachem (919) 483-8756
 The Poz+ Life is proud to have Patrick, Thomas, friends, cohorts, and most importantly friends selected to attend the 2014 United States Conference on AIDS (USCA) in San Diego, California.  Thomas and Patrick will be providing live social media conversations , blogging and videos during and after the conference.  
HIV disproportionately impacts America’s young people, especially young gay and bisexual men of color. Approximately 25% of all new infections occur in youth and between 2007 and 2010, there was a 22% increase among gay men aged 13–24. NMAC’s Youth initiative, sponsored by ViiV Healthcare, the Magic Johnson Foundation and Advocates for Youth aims to assist youth in becoming more effective and informed health advocates, and empowering them to become more active in their communities.Hundreds of applicants between the ages of 18 – 25 applied to participate in our 2014 program, including the opportunity to further their leadership in the field of HIV/AIDS as well as attend the 2014 United States Conference on AIDS in San Diego, CA, from Oct. 2 – 5.

Participants will take part in various events throughout 2014, from webinars to conference calls, to help further develop their skills and knowledge and prepare them to lead efforts to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in their communities and across the country. NMAC is thrilled hat it can continue to offer this exciting initiative and to introduce you to the selected participants. For more than 25 years, NMAC has worked to develop leadership in communities of color to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic and is proud to have the opportunity to help develop the skills of a new generation of leaders

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The National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) is very pleased to announce it has selected the Youth Scholars for NMAC’s Youth Initiative to End HIV in America. The eight-month Youth Initiative program is sponsored by NMAC in collaboration with ViiV HealthcareAdvocates for Youth, and the Magic Johnson Foundation and will provide opportunities for the scholars to develop leadership skills, increase knowledge, build confidence, and integrate youth in HIV/AIDS programs and policies.

Learn more about our scholars online here!  http://nmac.org/youth-scholars/

NMAC received and reviewed hundreds of applications through a competitive selection process. A Youth Advisory Committee worked with our Treatment Education Adherence Mobilization (TEAM) and Conferences & Meeting Services (CMS) divisions to select the 2014 recipients. We are incredibly proud to have a diverse, talented, and dynamic group of young leaders to participate in the Initiative.

With its focus on developing leadership among youth to end HIV in America, the skills the youth leaders will develop during the U.S. Conference on AIDS (USCA) will help drive the next generation of leaders in HIV. Through education and training, these individuals will develop the necessary tools to have a significant impact on the current and future landscape of HIV. Following the conference, the scholars will have the opportunity to share their skills with individuals in their own communities and through best practices, continue active participation in the HIV movement.

If you would like to learn more about the incredible group of Youth Scholars, you can view their pictures and bios on our website at: http://nmac.org/youth-scholars/.

PEP and PrEP. One is used as an emergency medication (PEP) and the other as a daily pill (PrEP). These two drugs have been available to the public since the FDA approved them in 2012. When used correctly they can reduce the chances of you acquiring HIV by up to 96%.

In the past 2 years those of us that work in HIV have heard many debates about these two pills. Who should take them, how effective they are, and weather or not this is a step in the right direction of creating an AIDS free generation. The public, however has not been able to gather that much information on these two pills. Due to many differences in opinion and health providers not having a general knowledge of about PEP and PrEP, most people that wish to learn more about this new prevention method or be prescribed it, have had to search for clinics that specialize in this matter. But regardless on the differences of opinion on PEP and PrEP it is imperative that we get as much information out about these two pills so the consumers can better decide if this prevention method is right for them.

Most recently the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene released new materials to encourage people to find out more about PrEP and if it is something they should be using. They have a whole section on their website that give you all the information about PEP and PrEP: Whet they stand for, the difference between the two, how often you should be taking them, lists of providers and clinics, how effective it is WHEN THE PATIENT ADHERE’S TO THE MEDICATION, and information on those that provide them. After sharing this website with a few peers and co-workers, they walked away knowing a lot more about PEP and PrEP. I even learned a few new things. The website gave out the information in an easy and informative way.

They also had several new images that have been placed on posters, pamphlets, and post cards with various slogans. These images had a different reaction when I showed them to the same co-workers and peers. I then asked what they felt and why when seeing these images and if they would consider PrEP or PEP as a prevention method after seeing them. I got a wide range of opinions which I will share but first, take a look at these images and ask yourself the same question.

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find more info at http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/living/prep-pep.shtml

cms_img_triumeq_packagingLondon, UK, 22 August, 2014 – ViiV Healthcare announced today that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Triumeq® (abacavir 600mg, dolutegravir 50mg and lamivudine 300mg) tablets for the treatment of HIV-1 infection.1 Triumeq is ViiV Healthcare’s first dolutegravir-based fixed-dose combination, offering many people living with HIV the option of a single-pill regimen  that combines the integrase strand transfer inhibitor (INSTI) dolutegravir, with the nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) abacavir and lamivudine.

Triumeq alone is not recommended for use in patients with current or past history of resistance to any components of Triumeq. Triumeq alone is not recommended in patients with resistance-associated integrase substitutions or clinically suspected INSTI resistance because the dose of dolutegravir in Triumeq is insufficient in these populations. Before initiating treatment with abacavir-containing products, screening for the presence of a genetic marker, the HLA-B*5701 allele, should be performed in any HIV-infected patient, irrespective of racial origin. Products containing abacavir should not be used in patients known to carry the HLA-B*5701 allele.1

Dr Dominique Limet, Chief Executive Officer, ViiV Healthcare, said: “Today’s approval of Triumeq offers many people living with HIV in the US the first single-pill regimen containing dolutegravir. ViiV Healthcare is committed to delivering advances in care and new treatment options to physicians and people living with HIV. We are proud to announce this important milestone, marking the second new treatment to be approved in the US from our pipeline of medicines.”

This FDA approval is based primarily upon data from two clinical trials:

  • the Phase III study (SINGLE) of treatment-naïve adults, conducted with dolutegravir and abacavir/lamivudine as separate pills2,3
  • a bioequivalence study of the fixed-dose combination of abacavir, dolutegravir and lamivudine when taken as a single pill compared to the administration of dolutegravir and abacavir/lamivudine as separate pills.4

In the SINGLE study, a non-inferiority trial with a pre-specified superiority analysis, more patients were undetectable (HIV-1 RNA <50 copies/mL) in the dolutegravir and abacavir/lamivudine arm (the separate components of Triumeq) than in the Atripla®†(efavirenz, emtricitabine and tenofovir) arm, the most commonly used single-pill regimen. The difference was statistically significant and met the pre-specified test for superiority. The difference was driven by a higher rate of discontinuation due to adverse events in the Atripla arm.2, 3

  • At 96 weeks, 80% of participants on the dolutegravir-based regimen were virologically suppressed compared to 72% of participants on Atripla. Grade 2-4 treatment emergent adverse reactions occurring in 2% or more participants taking the dolutegavir-based regimen were insomnia (3%), headache (2%) and fatigue (2%).3

About HIV

HIV stands for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. Unlike some other viruses, the human body cannot get rid of HIV, so once someone has HIV they have it for life.5-7

HIV infects specific cells of the immune system, called CD4 cells or T-cells. Over time, HIV can destroy so many of these cells that the body cannot fight off infections and disease. When this happens, HIV infection leads to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) which is the final stage of HIV infection. There is no cure for HIV, but with early diagnosis and effective treatment most people with HIV will not go on to develop AIDS.5-7

An estimated 1.1 million people in the US are living with HIV.However, only 33 percent are taking the medication they need.8

About Triumeq

Triumeq is a fixed-dose combination containing the INSTI dolutegravir and the NRTIs abacavir and lamivudine. 

Two essential steps in the HIV life cycle are replication – when the virus turns its RNA copy into DNA – and integration – the moment when viral DNA becomes part of the host cell’s DNA. These processes require two enzymes called reverse transcriptase and integrase. NRTIs and integrase inhibitors interfere with the action of the two enzymes to prevent the virus from replicating and further infecting cells. 

Dolutegravir was approved in the US in August 2013 and in Europe in January 2014 under the brand name Tivicay®. The Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) granted a positive opinion on the Marketing Authorisation Application (MAA) for Triumeq on 26 June 2014. Regulatory applications are also being evaluated in other markets worldwide, including Australia, Brazil and Canada.

Tivicay and Triumeq are registered trademarks of the ViiV Healthcare group of companies.

 

About ViiV Healthcare

ViiV Healthcare is a global specialist HIV company established in November 2009 by GlaxoSmithKline (LSE: GSK) and Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) dedicated to delivering advances in treatment and care for people living with HIV. Shionogi joined as a shareholder in October 2012. The company’s aim is to take a deeper and broader interest in HIV/AIDS than any company has done before and take a new approach to deliver effective and new HIV medicines, as well as support communities affected by HIV. For more information on the company, its management, portfolio, pipeline, and commitment, please visit www.viivhealthcare.com.

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During the first week of November, ViiV Healthcare welcomed invited individuals from across The United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada to Atlanta, Georgia for the 15th Annual Community Summit.  I became familiar with the summit during the U.S. Conference on AIDS and was immediately interested.  I arrived to Atlanta on November 7 and made it to the W Midtown.  I made it to the posh hotel were the next few days came and gone.  I reunited with friends and colleagues that I have known as well as new ones I met at USCA 2013 in New Orleans.   The Community Summit also gave me and others in attendance the ability to expand my network, make new contacts, and form new friendships.

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The purpose of this year’s Summit is to discuss new challenges and solutions to the HIV epidemic.  I experienced some of the greatest discussions this year.   Topics ranged from surrounding the changing healthcare environment to how the Affordable Care Act and the changes to the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program will affect the HIV population in our country.  Also, there was a phenomenal panel discussion titled “The Future Generation: Youth Leaders in HIV/AIDS.”  The informative yet entertaining, Trina Scott Associate Director, Health Equity and Youth Empowerment at Advocates for Youth moderated this discussion.   On the panel was Emily Carson from IGLHRC and HIV Young Leaders Fund, as well as Lawrence Stallworth II, Youth Services Coordinator at Beyond Identities Community Center.  Trina Scott provided a briefing regarding HIV, which gave great insight to those who attended both physically and virtually.  Ms. Scott gave some staggering statics:

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  • 60% of new HIV infections in youth occur in African-Americans, 20% in Hispanic/Latinos, and 20% in Whites.
  • Over half of new infections among gay and bisexual males are in African-Americans
  • About 87% of young males get HIV from male to male sex, 6% from heterosexual sex, 2% from injection drug use, and about 5% from a combination of male-to-male sex and injection drug use.
  • 86% of young females got HIV through heterosexual sex and 13% from injection drug use

One of the final statistics that were given that reiterated the sizeable epidemic among African-Americans were that young African-American males have more new infections of HIV than in any other group of youth by race/ethnicity and sex.  Outside of these staggering numbers the entire panel discussed interventions, prevention initiatives, and strategies that have been effective at reaching youth who are at most risk of HIV infection.  During the question and answer portion, I posed a question, which was how we empower more youth national, more specifically in the south, to be advocates for themselves and their communities.  Ms. Scott and the panel agreed that giving youth the opportunity to utilize their talents, having a seat on a board, being placed in leadership positions, and most importantly creating a space for youth to be empowered enough to speak up were things that we discussed.  Also, the entire panel agreed to my question, that comprehensive sexual education in schools (beyond abstinence based talks) and encouraging adults to talk about sexual health and ways to protect or reduce the chances of being infected wit HIV or STDs are actions that must take place.

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In addition, on day one, there was a panel discussion on ASOs and Community Health Centers: Partnering for Health.  This discussion was very interesting because it discussed how ASOs and CBOs were being creative and evolving in an effort to expand services to individuals affected by HIV and to adapt to the changing policies.  One of the major topics discussed in this panel discussion was merger.  One of the things I took away was that it was more important to discuss potential mergers when organizations were healthy compared to when they are struggling to make ends meet.  I learned that when organizations are not healthy and are looking to merge the conversation is no longer about merging but move to acquisition.  One thing that every individual on that panel discussion stressed was that egos definitely needed to moved aside at the door.  Bronx- based Boom!Health can related to that due to both Robert Cordero and José Dávila, serving as Co-Presidents through a merger of  CitiWide Harm Reduction and Bronx AIDS Services.  Both organizations’ presidents came together to work for the common good of their community, which can serve as a lesson for so many different community based organizations who refuse to do so based off of conflicting personalities.  The Community Summit definitely was a place to have this conversation so the attendees from across the nation can go back to their organizations and remind their leaders of the impeding changes that will soon take effect for all of us who work in HIV.

IMG_1058 I personally think that ASOs/CBOs really need to start considering potential mergers and partnerships when negotiations can commence on an even playing field.  Seeing so many organizations either struggling or closing and personally affected has encouraged me to being to have that conversation with my own organization.

This year’s ViiV Community Summit had other fantastic sessions surrounding medical updates, PrEP/PEP, and early treatment.  The shared detailed community and medical information impressed me.  ViiV also flipped the script this year by offering breakout sessions on Women and HIV/AIDS, HIV and Aging, and Bio Statistics in HIV Research. IMG_2346 IMG_2345 IMG_2344

I attended both the sessions on Women and HIV/AIDS and Bio Statics in HIV Research.  It was great to learn additional information on how Women are also greatly affected by HIV/AIDS.   Especially in a field where it is so easy to focus on same gender loving men. I also appreciated the free biostatistics course that tied in HIV research.  The presenter Amy Cutrell from GlaxoSmithKline definitely made it easy to understand the complexities that surround bio stats.

Overall, this was an experience of a lifetime. The speakers came from all occupations and provided information and stories. Stories on how it was like living with HIV in prisons and receiving updates from the CDC were just the icing on an amazing peanut butter chocolate cake. In addition, as a youth, being able to connect with so many knowledgeable individuals in this field has given me additional insight.  There may not have been a huge attendance of youth at this year’s summit; however, the ones who were there definitely made a presence. I really appreciated the attention to detail, friendliness, information, and networking opportunities ViiV Healthcare provided during the entire 15th Community Summit.  Since meeting and interacting with ViiV staff at USCA 2014 and now at CS 15, I have become even more appreciative of their efforts to support all that are involved in the cause to end HIV/AIDS.  I have never dealt with a pharmaceutical company who placed so much focus on communities.  From participation in conferences, their positive action community grants, and hosting events such as this shows the ViiV Healthcare’s investment.  ViiV’s staff continues to impress me and I am truly thankful for all of their hard work.  Bill Collier, Head of North America; Marc Meachem, Head, External Affairs, and Ashley Mahoney, Manager of External Affairs always were available and willing to talk to anyone.  When available, they sat and visited with us and wanted to know what we though about everything. ViiV staff also wanted to know what they could do to better address those who are at risk or living with HIV.  IMG_2385

I really appreciated the opportunity to be apart of the 15th Community Summit.  I hope that I will be able to attend next year and take away more information and connections that will help my community better address and fight and HIV epidemic.

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