The District of Columbia Center for acquired immune deficiency syndrom (AIDS) Research (DC CFAR), based at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH), recently launched a project aimed at strengthening Puerto Rico’s response to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemic.
Puerto Rico has one of the highest HIV incidence rates in the United States. With funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the project aims to establish a partnership between government, community and academic leaders to enhance Puerto Rico’s response to the HIV epidemic. As part of the project, researchers will assess the number and types of HIV tests performed in the last year and find out how often people at risk of HIV are referred to care that can prevent transmission.
The team will learn more about the barriers to HIV testing so that people at risk, including men who have sex with men, can be tested. HIV testing can identify new cases of infection at an early stage so that prompt treatment can be started. In addition, testing and counseling can identify people at risk of contracting HIV so that they can be offered preventive care, such as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP).
“Ending the HIV epidemic requires equitable participation from governments, scientists, practitioners, and communities,” said Dr. Carlos Rodriguez-Diaz, an associate professor of prevention and community health at Milken Institute SPH and the principal investigator for the project. “This project could serve as an example of using science and practice to change the public health landscape and eliminate an epidemic affecting the most socially vulnerable.”Friday Letter Submission, Publish on October 11