The University of Rochester has received more than a $1 million grant from the Department of Health and Human ServicesNational Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for research on the treatment and prevention of HIV.
U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced the $1,030,764 grant will fund efforts to develop better treatment methods and standards of care for people living with HIV. That effort includes clinical trials for a preventive HIV vaccine at the University of Rochester Clinical Trials Unit.
The new award from the National Institutes of Health is a renewal of a research program that UR’s Infectious Diseases Division has had since 1987, and will fund UR HIV/AIDS clinical trials through 2018.
"The funding will advance the University of Rochester’s groundbreaking research in HIV treatment and prevention, keep our nation’s top scientists flocking to the Rochester area, and most importantly, it may lead to the development of an HIV vaccine," Schumer said in a statement.
It funds the UR HIV/AIDS Clinical Trials Unit and includes research on new treatment options for HIV-positive patients, as well as research studies focused on developing an effective preventive HIV vaccine for those who are not infected with HIV.
"When we invest in new research for HIV, we can unlock discoveries for new treatments and help save more lives, attract even more bright minds to Rochester, and support new economic growth," Gillibrand said.
The grant, headed by Dr. Michael C. Keefer, director of the HIV/AIDS Clinical Trials Unit, comes on the heels of the UR’s new designation as a Center for AIDS Research (CFAR). Only institutions with a certain level of existing HIV/AIDS grant funding are able to compete for a CFAR designation, and UR is now one of 19 CFARs across the country.
"The renewal of our treatment and vaccine research program and our new CFAR designation puts the University of Rochester amongst an elite group of institutions conducting AIDS research in this country," Keefer said. "We are very excited to be able to continue our work to improve the quality of life of those living with HIV and ultimately find a vaccine that will prevent the spread of HIV around the world."
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We have some important new information from the HVTN 505 vaccine study to share with you.
We are going to stop further injections in the HVTN 505 study because the vaccine did not show efficacy. This means it did not work to prevent HIV infection nor reduce the amount of virus (viral load) in the blood among people in the study who became infected with HIV. Participants enrolled in the study will be unblinded (find out whether they received a vaccine or placebo) in the upcoming few weeks, but study visits will continue.
The first order of business when we heard this news was to notify our study participants (prior to the release of the information to the public). At this time, all RVA HVTN 505 volunteers enrolled in Rochester and Buffalo have been contacted/informed of this important study update.
Although the news is not what we were hoping for, the ongoing support of our volunteers and our community will continue to allow us to better understand how to develop effective HIV vaccines. This news is extremely disappointing to our team, but the information we gain from this study is critical in planning the future direction of HIV vaccine research and we could not have learned this without your support.
Undoubtedly, there will be a lot of news about this study in the upcoming days and weeks. We are committed to providing accurate information to our volunteers and community partners at the earliest possible time. At this time we can provide you the press release sent out today by the National Institute of Health.
As additional information is released we will share this with you. If you have questions or comments about this study or HIV prevention in general, please don’t hesitate to contact us!
Thank you once again for your commitment to ending AIDS!
The entire Rochester Victory Alliance team
Original article accessed 4/11/13, Microbicide Trials Network: http://www.mtnstopshiv.org/node/4877
Truvada found not an effective strategy in this population
Young, single women were least likely to use tablets or gel, and more likely to get infected at very high rates
By: Amy Young
Updated: March 4, 2013
Today kicked off the National Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS. 1.2 million people are living with HIV in the United States. One-fifth of them don’t even know it.
Rochester has the second rate of HIV in New York State, outside of New York City.
In Monroe County more than two-thousand people are diagnosed with HIV. A Rochester congregation is hoping to reach those afflicted and those who may not yet realize they are living with the disease.
I’m proud that the church is finally stepping up and coming out of the fog of not wanting to deal with this very very sensitive issue of HIV and AIDS," said Weldon Thomas, Pastor New Bethel C.M.E. Church.
On this Sunday, Pastor Weldon Thomas’s message hopes to reach those dealing with HIV and AIDS.
"We are realizing that our congregations are being affected more and more. The person sitting in the pew next to your may have a family member, we may have a family members who we’ve had to funeralize. People who are now living with HIV and AIDS and so. Pastors are becoming more sensitive to the fact that we must be at the forefront," added Thomas.
New Bethel C.M.E. Church provided free HIV and AIDS screening before and after this morning’s service.
The pastor also shared the pulpit with Dr. Michael Keefer, a professor at the University of Rochester, conducting clinical research A Professor at the University of Rochester conducting clinical research on preventative vaccines that may one day be the answer to the epidemic.
"The relatively, I think, sad part is that we’ve known for a number of years that the African American and Latino communities are bearing a disproportionate burden of the illness. What’s also distressing is also hitting young people, said Dr. Michael Keefer, University of Rochester.
Jackie Dozier with Minority Health Initiatives was also on hand to help guide those seeking help.
"If we can touch the lives of just one person, then we’ve done some service," said Jackie Dozier, Minority Health Initiatives.
As the title suggests the National Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS has various programs and services throughout the coming week, not here in Rochester but throughout the country.
To view the source article and a video of the event, visit: http://rochesterhomepage.net/fulltext?nxd_id=375092
National and local experts, researchers, health-care workers, and activists will discuss the crisis at a symposium, "HIV/AIDS Crisis Among African Americans" from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, October 19. The event is sponsored by the University of Rochester.
One in 16 African-American men and one in 32 African-American women will learn at some point in their lives that they have HIV, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even though African Americans make up less than 14 percent of the US population, they represent half of all new HIV infections, the CDC says.
While scientists inch closer to a vaccine and other breakthroughs, some health-care experts question whether eradicating the disease is even possible until the underlying causes of the crisis are better understood.
Inequities born out of a mix of racism, homophobia, and poverty are helping the disease spread disproportionately in minority communities, says Cathy Bunce, a symposium panel member and principal HIV investigator with the University of Rochester Medical Center. Rochester residents between the ages of 18 to 26 accounted for most of the new cases in the city in 2010, she says.
The symposium is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Rush Rhees Library. It’s free and open to the public.