As World AIDS Day approaches, the faculty and staff at the Rutgers School of Public Health reflect on both the past and future of HIV treatment and prevention. Over the past three decades, countless people have worked tirelessly to both improve the quality of life of those living with HIV while preventing its spread to others. The Rutgers School of Public Health is unwavering to our efforts to stop HIV/AIDS devastation through the faculty we support, the students we train, and the service we provide to and for the community we serve.
Rutgers faculty have long lived at the forefront of HIV research and prevention. Rutgers School of Public Health dean, Dr. 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 (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer or questioning) communities they study. Both the Rutgers School of Public Health and CHIBPS are training grounds for tomorrow’s public health workers and researchers, both supporting, building, and encouraging HIV/AIDS faculty research and student involvement.
Rutgers is taking the next step in the mission to fight HIV. On December 7, Rutgers School of Public Health and the Rutgers School of Nursing will welcome both public health authorities and community members to “Prepping for PrEP”, a forum that emphasizes awareness of and access to Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) as a means to prevent HIV’s spread. The conference will feature a moderated panel discussion and keynote speaker Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, activist, researcher, and the current deputy commissioner of disease control at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, who will address PrEP in the context of the various populations that make up a complex metropolitan area, like New York City.
Rutgers School of Public Health is committed to broadening the scope of our HIV/AIDS research. Many new and current faculty study topics ranging from prevention and treatment to the psychosocial aspects that put people at disproportionate risk. Dr. Chongyi Wei, who will join the Rutgers School of Public Health in the spring, focuses on the racial and ethnic disparities of HIV among men who have sex with men, with research projects underway across both the United States and China. Dr. Henry Fisher Raymond, who will also join our faculty in the spring, studies HIV prevention services and testing behaviors in gay men. Dr. Pamela Valera, who studies HIV prevention and human sexuality, is dedicated to addressing health disparities among those unable to advocate for themselves.
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 our mission to improve the lives of those impacted by HIV through collaborative research and educational and service opportunities with our partners in New Jersey and beyond. As December 1 is upon us once again, we are grateful for the HIV/AIDS crusaders, partners, and organizations who are unified in their vision of turning HIV into a distant memory.