Adimora Elected to National Academy of Medicine

Adaora Adimora, MD, MPH, the Sarah Graham Kenan Distinguished Professor of Medicine at the UNC School of Medicine and professor of epidemiology with the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), widely considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine. The academy recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service throughout their careers.

Read more about this at the UNC Health Care and UNC School of Medicine Newsroom.

UNC Awarded $19.4 million to Continue National Effort to Combat HIV Comorbidities

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will receive $19.4 million over the next seven years to continue their research on chronic illnesses that often accompany HIV infection, including cardiovascular and lung diseases, diabetes, and cancers. Almost half of people with HIV in the United States are over the age of 50 and are more likely to suffer chronic HIV-related comorbidities than infectious complications. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) selected UNC-Chapel Hill as one of the 13 Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study / Women’s Interagency HIV Study Combined Cohort Study (MACS/WIHS-CCS) sites after a competitive application process.

The MACS/WIHS-CCS is a collaborative research effort to understand and reduce the impact of chronic health conditions that affect people living with HIV. Adaora Adimora, MD, MPH, leads the UNC-Chapel Hill site, one of 13 across the country.

Read more about this at the UNC Health Care and UNC School of Medicine Newsroom.

Myron Cohen in The Guardian’s “End to Aids in sight as huge study finds drugs stop HIV transmission”

The UK PARTNER study published its findings on May 2 in the Lancet, concluding that the risk of infection between male partners is zero if the virus is fully suppressed by antiretrovirals. In the Guardian’s coverage of the study, they quote UNC CFARs Myron Cohen’s commentary on barriers to care:

“It is not always easy for people to get tested for HIV or find access to care; in addition, fear, stigma, homophobia and other adverse social forces continue to compromise HIV treatment,” he said.

“Diagnosis of HIV infection is difficult in the early stages of infection when transmission is very efficient, and this limitation also compromises the treatment as prevention strategy.”

In an effort to make childbirth safer, $14 million awarded to Jeff Stringer’s research team

Jeff Stringer, director of UNC CFAR’s International Core, is leading two studies to improve pregnancy outcomes in the world’s poorest countries. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded $14 million to Stringer’s interdisciplinary team, composed of researchers from the UNC School of Medicine and UNC Gillings School of Global Health. Read more about this at the UNC Health Care and UNC School of Medicine Newsroom.

Eron Moderates New Video Series

Joseph Eron, MD, division chief of infectious diseases and director of UNC CFAR’s Clinical Core, was recently featured on Contagion‘s latest Peer Exchange panel. The four-part discussion, entitled “HIV Screening, Prevention, and Treatment Advances,” is available to the public here.

From the UNC Health Care and UNC School of Medicine’s Newsroom article,

 “This Contagion “Peer Exchange” panel features five distinguished experts: Joseph J. Eron Jr., MD, professor of medicine and division chief of infectious diseases at the UNC School of Medicine, as moderator; Eric S. Daar, MD, of the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center; Ian D. Frank, MD, of the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania; W. David Hardy, MD, of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; and Paul E. Sax, MD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

The first segment of this “Peer Exchange” series delves into a discussion on screening and prevention of HIV. In the second segment, the experts provide a brief overview of the current HIV treatment landscape. The third segment focuses on additional considerations for therapy, such as the importance of adherence to treatment and care. In the final segment, our experts discuss upcoming treatment options that are exciting for the HIV community.”

Reducing Stigma and Exploring Resilience Among Young Black Men

In a study published on January 11th, investigators considered of the digital resilience behavior of young, black gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (GBMSM). CFAR investigator and assistant professor of health behavior at the Gillings School Kathryn E. Muessig, PhD, participated as senior author to this study, entitled “Stay strong! keep ya head up! move on! it gets better!!!!’: Resilience processes in the healthMpowerment online intervention of young black gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men.

The study focused on participants’ forum use of healthMpowerment, an anonymous online intervention system designed by Hightow-Weidman. Investigators analyzed conversations according to the four forms of resilience behaviors: exchanging social support, engaging in health-promoting cognitive processes, enacting healthy behavioral practices and empowering others. Their findings suggest that interventions based on resilience and empowerment may position black GBMSM to better combat negative stereotypes and social institutions that perpetuate HIV-related stigma, racism and blame. This is in contrast to preexisting risk-based frameworks that may reinforce stigma and negative stereotypes associated with this already marginalized group.

Read more about the study’s findings here.

CFAR-Wide Webinar Series: Brian Mustanski

For our January 2019 webinar, Brian Mustanski, PhD, presented “Don’t assume if you build it they will come: Two hybrid effectiveness-implementation trials of eHealth HIV prevention programs for diverse adolescent and young adult MSM.” In case you missed it, a recording can be viewed here.

Next month’s webinar is planned for February 25th at 3:30 ET and will feature Robin Lanzi and Pam Foster from UAB CFAR discussing the Inter-CFAR Faith Initiative Working Group. The 2019 webinar schedule and registration information can be found here.

Brian Mustanksi, PhD, is director of the Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing at Northwestern University, Co-Director of the Center for Prevention Implementation Methodology for Drug Abuse and HIV, and Co-Director of the Third Coast Center for AIDS Research. Additionally, he is a professor of both Medical Social Sciences and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Feinberg School of Medicine. Dr. Mustanski’s research focuses on the health and development of LGBT youth and the application of new media and technology to sexual health promotion and HIV prevention with young men.

Cohen Steps Down at Division of Infectious Diseases, Appointed to Fogarty Advisory Board

After 30 years of contribution, UNC CFAR Associate Director Myron “Mike” Cohen, MD will step down from his position as Chief of UNC Division of Infectious Diseases. Learn more about Cohen’s influential career, including his recent appointment to the National Institute of Health Fogarty Advisory Board, where he will join other researchers and policymakers providing oversight to global research projects. Cohen will continue directing the Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases (IGHID), serving as Associate Vice Chancellor for Global Health, and working with UNC CFAR.

The incoming Chief of UNC Division of Infectious Diseases is Joseph Eron, MD, who also serves as director of the UNC CFAR Clinical Core, professor of medicine, and adjunct professor of epidemiology.