The Durham County Board of Commissioners has proclaimed December 14 as HIV Cure Research Day!
Dr. Allison Mathews, founder and director of the 2BeatHIV research project at UNC, shared that “HIV Cure Research Day marks the one year anniversary of the founding of the 2BeatHIV project, which has far reaching impacts in North Carolina and across the world”. Matthews is “excited and proud to announce that Durham is the first city in the world to proclaim this day.” The purpose of HIV Cure Research Day is to promote community involvement in shaping the future of HIV cure research. Along with Dr. Mathews, Drs. David Margolis (Founder and Director of the UNC HIV Cure Center) and Stuart Rennie (UNC Department of Social Medicine) were also in attendance at the event.
To celebrate the proclamation, the 2BeatHIV project hosted a Proclamation Jam Session at Beyu Café. The event provided a review of the project’s accomplishments and summarized community feedback on the next steps to ensure equity in HIV prevention, treatment, and cure efforts for people affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Angela Vick-Lewis, a long-time advocate for HIV awareness, performed a poem and shared her story, “When I learned that I was HIV positive, I made a pact with God to share my story and raise awareness about HIV.” Additionally, Nasir Jones Harvard Hip Hop Fellow, Dasan Ahanu, performed an original theme song for the 2BeatHIV project entitled, “Spit for a Cure.”
A highlight of the evening was the premiere of the trailer for the documentary, “30,000,000:1 – Crowdsourcing a Cure for HIV,” which features interviews by Durham residents, HIV cure researchers, and highlights from 2BeatHIV’s development over the course of a year. The benefit organization for the event was Red-Alert, which was founded by Nequa Powell and Sharisse Berry, two pharmaceutical doctorate students at Hampton University, who won the 2BeatHIV Innovation Challenge in May 2016. Watch the trailer here!
2BeatHIV is a research project at UNC Chapel Hill in the Department of Social Medicine and the Institute for Global Health and Infectious Disease, and is funded by the NIH NIAID. CFAR Member Dr. Allison Mathews is the founder and director of the project, which has developed partnerships with over 30 community-based organizations, businesses, and community leaders; had over 1000 attendees at its local events; and reached over 250,000 people online. Dr. Mathews has presented her research findings at several universities, regional, national, and international conferences, and was a speaker at TEDxDurham.