The Rutgers School of Public Health reflects on both the past and future of HIV treatment and prevention as the 30th Anniversary of World AIDS Day approaches on December 1, 2018. Over the past three decades, countless scholars, activists, and students have worked tirelessly to improve the quality of life for those living with HIV, while preventing its spread to others. The Rutgers School of Public Health is unwavering in its efforts to stop HIV/AIDS devastation through the faculty it supports, the students it trains, and the service it provides to and for the community which it serves.
Last week, the Rutgers School of Public Health became the first ever school of public health to endorse the Prevention Action Campaign’s Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U) movement, which indicates that there is zero chance of transmission of HIV when a person has undetectable viremia. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) first endorsed the U=U campaign in 2017.
The Rutgers School of Public Health faculty have long lived at the forefront of HIV research and prevention. Dean Perry N. Halkitis is the director of the Center for Health, Identity, Behavior & Prevention Studies (CHIBPS), which envisions, develops, and enacts research with and for the LGBTQ communities they study. Both the Rutgers School of Public Health and CHIBPS are training grounds for tomorrow’s public health workers and researchers, by supporting, building, and encouraging HIV/AIDS faculty research and student involvement. Additionally, his book, “The AIDS Generation: Stories of Survival and Resilience” has quickly become a seminal work in the field since its publication in 2013.
The Rutgers School of Public Health is also engaging the community with its scholars and students to develop relevant solutions to fighting HIV. On November 30, 2018, the Rutgers School of Public Health and the Rutgers School of Nursing will welcome public health authorities and community members to their second annual World AIDS Day Commemoration and Community Forum, “HIV & Aging.” This year’s program will explore the complex social, medical, and psychological needs of the aging HIV-positive population and examine models of strength and resilience that define them, through structured conversations with leading experts and community stakeholders. Mr. Jesse Milan Jr., President and CEO of AIDS United, will be delivering the keynote address followed by two panel discussions: “Psychological Well-being: Challenges and Resilience,” moderated by Dr. Mark Brennan-Ing, Brookdale, Center for Healthy Aging, Hunter College, City University of New York and “Healthcare Delivery & Service Utilization Addressing the Complex Needs of Older PLWHA,” moderated by Mr. Peter Oates, clinical director, François-Xavier Bagnoud Center, Rutgers School of Nursing.
The public health community at large has a lot to be proud of in its work to curtail the spread of HIV; however, that work is far from finished. The Rutgers School of Public Health remains steadfast in its mission to improve the lives of those impacted by HIV through collaborative research and educational and community engagement opportunities with our partners in New Jersey and beyond. As the 30th Anniversary World AIDS Day approaches on December 1, 2018, we are grateful for the HIV/AIDS crusaders, partners, and organizations who are unified in their vision of turning HIV into a distant memory.