Friday ID Conference: Progress and Challenges in STI Research

King HolmesThis talk is a part of our friday morning CFAR/IGHID Friday ID Conference Series.

“Progress and Challenges in STI Research”
King Holmes, MD, PhD, FIDSA
Department of Global Health at University of Washington

September 19, 2014
8:30 – 9:30 a.m.
4th Floor Old Clinic, UNC-CH Campus

King K. Holmes MD, PhD, FIDSA, has dedicated 50 years to research on the epidemiology, diagnosis, and treatment and prevention of sexually transmitted infections. From 2006-2014, Dr. Holmes served as the first William H. Foege Chair of the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington, where he is Professor of Global Health and Medicine, and Adjunct Professor of Microbiology and Epidemiology. He also heads the Infectious Diseases Section at Harborview Medical Center. He founded and directs the UW Center for AIDS and STD, a WHO Collaborating Center.

Refreshments will be served.

Dr. Joseph Tucker works globally to educate HIV researchers

clinical skills training

Professor Beng Tin Goh teaches STD clinical skills at the 2014 UNC-South China STD Research Training course

The UNC CFAR has a robust membership of doctors and researchers who work internationally to increase knowledge, decrease stigma, and provide care and support in the field of HIV/AIDS. CFAR investigator Dr. Joseph Tucker, assistant professor at the UNC School of Medicine and director of UNC Project-China, is doing innovative work in developing social and biomedical research, and capable global scientists, to work on controlling the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Dr. Tucker’s research examines how major shifts in China’s social and economic climate have resulted in the resurgence of syphilis, HIV, and other STIs. He has ongoing projects that focus on social entrepreneurship for sexual health and the social epidemiology of STIs. He lives and works throughout the year with his family in Guangzhou, the capitol of Guangdong Province, and is fluent in Mandarin Chinese. He is PI on an NIH Fogarty International Research Scientist Development Award and serves as a mentor for trainees and junior investigators.

This past summer, Dr. Tucker facilitated the UNC-South China STD Research Training course – an intensive, week-long training course that Tucker described as “fantastic because it provides a structured mechanism to support junior Chinese trainees interested in STD/HIV research”. The training course included academic lectures on clinical science, epidemiology, and diseases prevention, as well as skills building workshops on grant writing, data collection, and project management. Tucker shared, “Despite the sweltering heat (one UNC professor said it felt just like home) and a packed agenda, there was great enthusiasm from both the China and UNC participants. We had a 360 evaluation that included participant evaluation, training faculty evaluation, and external evaluation. The consensus was that the training course exceeded trainee expectations and filled an important niche, catering to junior trainees who often do not have a chance to attend international conferences or get an opportunity to receive guidance from UNC training faculty. The whole point of the training course was to jump start research collaborations between UNC training faculty and Chinese faculty and trainees. With the D43 (mentoring) grant, now we can have a far more reciprocal training experience that is beneficial for all involved.” September 10th is “Teacher’s Day” in China and the Guangzhou postdocs have organized a dinner in honor of Teacher Joe.

Faculty and Students at the 2014 UNC-South China STD Research Training course. UNC CFAR investigators Dr. Mike Cohen, Dr. Joe Eron, Dr. Heidi Swygard

Faculty and Students at the 2014 UNC-South China STD Research Training course. UNC CFAR members Drs. Joseph Tucker, Mike Cohen, Joseph Eron, Heidi Swygard, Peter Leone, Arlene Sena, P. Frederick Sparling, and Ada Adimora were in attendance.

Dr. Tucker’s work spans across the globe; his project searcHIV: Social and Ethical Aspects of Research on Curing HIV is comprised of a multi-site, multi-disciplinary working group focusing on investigating the biosocial implications of curing HIV infection. They have three research sites, located in Cape Town, South Africa, Chapel Hill, NC and Guangzhou, China. Tucker explained, “From an anthropological perspective, there are substantial differences in the social context of HIV in the US, South Africa, and China. For example, take civil society organizations. In the US, civil society organizations were leading the calls for accelerated HIV ART approval at the FDA and have played a pivotal role to push forward new HIV policies. In South Africa, there is also a strong civil society presence, but organized along different themes and strategies. In China, the development of civil society has been more complex, creating challenges in reaching and retaining key populations in some contexts.” The multiple study sites give his team opportunities for cross-cultural comparisons, which help in identifying intersecting themes about the unintended implications of HIV cure. Tucker’s research “hopes to take advantage of these cultural and social differences” as his teams analyze the social and ethical dimensions of cure HIV research.

The results of Tucker’s investigations can be used to assist HIV cure researchers as they create informed consent documents, design research studies, and continue HIV cure research. Tucker noted, “We are fortunate to have Professor David Margolis’s CARE team at UNC. They are an absolutely top-notch group, world leaders in the basic science and clinical aspects of HIV cure research. We are also excited to learn more about structuring community engagement on this topic and how to engage a broad range of stakeholders.”

Combination Therapy in HIV Cure Research Conference

Dr David MargolisThe Collaboratory of AIDS Researchers for Eradication (CARE) is hosting a community presentation:

Combination Therapy in HIV Cure Research
Monday, September 15, 2014
11 am – 12 pm EDT | 8 – 9 am PDT

Speaker: David M. Margolis, MD, FACP
Professor of Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology, Epidemiology
Principal Investigator, Collaboratory of AIDS Researchers for Eradication (CARE)
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH)
Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases (IGHID)

To join the online meeting:

1. Go to this website.
2. If requested, enter your name and email address.
3. If a password is required, enter the meeting password: care2cure
4. Click “Join”.

To join the audio conference through telephone:

US TOLL FREE: +1-855-282-6330
US TOLL: +1-415-655-0003

Time: 10:45 am, Eastern Daylight Time
Meeting Number: 734-892-997
Meeting Password: care2cure

For assistance, visit this website. On the left navigation bar, click “Support”.

Friday ID Conference: Dynamics and Clinical Relevance of Drug Resistant HIV

boucherThis talk is a part of our friday morning CFAR/IGHID Friday ID Conference Series.

“Dynamics and Clinical Relevance of Drug Resistant HIV; the end of the problem”
Speaker: Charles Boucher MD, PhD
Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands

September 12, 2014
8:30 – 9:30 a.m.
1131 Bioinformatics (first floor auditorium), UNC-CH Campus

Charles Boucher is Professor in the Department of Virology Erasmus Medical Center, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Professor Boucher received his medical degree and PhD from the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He then furthered his studies in clinical microbiology and virology at the Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam and the University Medical Center Utrecht. He is the chairman of the European Society for Antiviral Resistance.

Professor Boucher is an organizer of international workshops, meetings and conferences, a consultant throughout Europe and the United States, a reviewer for scientific journals and co-chairman of several international committees. He is the author of numerous publications that have appeared in such journals as Science, The Lancet, Nature Medicine, Journal of Infectious Diseases and AIDS.

Refreshments will be served.

Body Counts Talk and Roundtable Discussion with Sean Strub

Sero ProjectThe UNC Program in Sexuality Studies is sponsoring two events with Sean Strub, founder of POZ Magazine and executive director of the Sero Project.

Thursday, September 11th, 5 pm and 7 pm

Hitchcock Room, Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History, UNC-CH Campus

Parking: Bell Tower Parking Deck directly behind the Stone Center for free after 5pm

Both events are free and open to the public

• 5pm: Body Counts: A Memoir of Politics, Sex, AIDS, and Survival, book reading and signing with author, Sean Strub, at the Bull’s Head Bookshop in the Student Stores Building, UNC-CH

• 7pm: Roundtable Discussion with Sean Strub: “The Politics of HIV and AIDS, Then and Now”

Panel participants include:
-Karen Booth, faculty, Women’s and Gender Studies, UNC-CH
-Richard Cante, faculty, Communication Studies and Director, Program in Sexuality Studies, UNC-CH
-Carolyn McAllaster, Duke University School of Law, Duke AIDS Legal Project, and Southern HIV/AIDS Strategy Initiative

Sean Strub is the founder of POZ Magazine, executive director of the Sero Project, a US-based network of people with HIV combating criminalization and is the author of Body Counts: A Memoir of Politics, Sex, AIDS, and Survival (Scribner 2014). A longtime activist and HIV survivor, he was the first openly HIV positive person to run for the U.S. Congress, produced the off-Broadway hit The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me and from 2010-2012 co-chaired the North American affiliate of the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+/NA).

New book: Innovations in HIV Prevention Research and Practice through Community Engagement

Innovations in HIV ResearchUNC CFAR investigator Scott Rhodes, PhD, MPH, from the Wake Forest School of Medicine has edited a new book: Innovations in HIV Prevention Research and Practice through Community Engagement.

Leaders in the field who are working at various points along the community-engagement continuum, with diverse populations, and different types of HIV prevention interventions (e.g., individual, community, and structural) have contributed important chapters that outline both innovative interventions designed to reduce HIV risk among some of the most affected communities and authentic and meaningful approaches to engagement, partnership, and CBPR. Chapter authors include community members who may come from communities greatly affected by HIV in the United States; organization representatives who are providing services to members of these communities; business representatives; federal scientists and practitioners; and academic researchers who must negotiate the challenges of their institutions (e.g., tenure and funding) and federal and foundation funders who may not understand the challenges and potential successes associated with authentic engagement, partnership, and CBPR.

Information can be found at Springer and at Amazon.

UNC CFAR in the News: HIV drug linked to higher suicide risk

The UNC CFAR is getting exciting news coverage! Our researchers Katie Mollan, MS, Joe Eron, MD, Kevin Robertson, MD, and ACTG investigators have been featured in WedMD, Harvard News, and MedPage Today for their new article which explores the risks of anti-HIV drug efavirenz. This drug appears to double the risk that patients will develop suicidal thoughts or take their lives.

Study co-author Dr. Joseph Eron shared that “Efavirenz is a very important and effective antiretroviral medication that is the foundation for much of HIV therapy worldwide.” Dr. Eron explained that “suicidality (i.e. suicidal thoughts or suicidal behavior or suicide death) is a very serious adverse event that requires clinicians to actively engage patients to assess risk”. This new study demonstrates a clear association between efavirenz and suicidality.

Although the absolute risk of suicidality is relatively small, Eron explained that it appears to be persistent, lasting as long as patients take the drug. Antiretroviral treatment typically is lifelong, helping people with the AIDS-causing virus live healthier lives.

“Clinicians should be aware of this ongoing risk, and talk to their patients to assess suicidality,” Eron added. That means looking for any history of depression or suicidal thoughts or attempts, the study noted.

Good alternatives to efavirenz do exist for patient who may need to start, or to switch to, another therapy. In settings where alternative therapies are not available, the benefits of efavirenz-based therapy with management of depression will usually outweigh the risks of no treatment, especially for people with low CD4 cell counts.

Follow the coverage:

WebMD: “Common HIV Drug May Boost Suicide Risk”

Harvard News: “Widely Used HIV Drug Linked to Higher Suicide Risk”

MedPage Today: HIV Drug Linked to Suicidality Risk

Video Clip: The link between Efavirenz and Suicide