ACRIA Senior Study Coordinator, Douglas Mendez, M.D., recently presented on the research community's current understanding of lipodystrophy and HIV at the IV Argentine American Medical Congress.
Dr. Mendez has been a valuable member of ACRIA's research team since 1996. His work here has been pivotal to a great many trials, including over two dozen that have tested promising anti-HIV therapies and treatments to counter side effects of HIV medications like abnormal body fat redistribution. At the same time, Dr. Mendez has been a leading advocate for more effective healthcare for HIV-positive Latinos. He has served as President of the Dominican Medical Association of New York, he is a Board Member of The Latino Health Care Advisory Network, and he is on the planning board for the UNAIDS-sponsored Caribbean HIV/AIDS Conference to be held in Jamaica in October 2003. ACRIA is extremely fortunate to have someone of Dr. Mendez's energy, drive and caring on our staff to help us improve healthcare for those in society who may be overlooked by the mainstream medical establishment. We are also very pleased that the medical community in Argentina could benefit from Dr. Mendez's experience with treating patients who are confronting the challenges of HIV.
The first in a series of ACRIA research initiatives on the HIV Over 50 population is complete. The study's goal was to conduct much needed research on this growing and neglected group. The over 50 population accounts for one-quarter of all PLWHAs in NYC. ACRIA researchers Andrew Shippy, MA and Stephen Karpiak, PhD recruited 160 individuals aged 50-76. The study population was 66% male and 33% female, and 89% were people of color. We were able to recruit participants from the five boroughs of New York City. Consequently our sample reflects today's epidemic. The study measured multiple variables that are now being analyzed for publication. Initial findings indicate that age markedly compounds difficulties in accessing services. Formal social support services may be more important for older adults with HIV/AIDS since the study indicates that they have fewer friends and relatives for support compared to younger people.
ACRIA recently received a gift from Laura Payeur who was just 24 years old when she died in an automobile accident on March 3rd, 2003. Although we did not know Ms. Payeur, we've subsequently learned of her deep commitment to the care and nurturing of children. It was her wish in life to also in some way support AIDS research, and this is how her parents have decided to honor their daughter's memory with a significant donation to ACRIA. HIV and AIDS has far too frequently caused the untimely death of many thousands of young people in the United States and across the world. We are deeply touched by Ms. Payeur's desire to extend the lives of so many people who live under the threat of also dying so tragically early in life. ACRIA will do everything in our power to honor Ms. Payeur through our research program this year.
ACRIA has been selected by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) to develop comprehensive tools for use in the training of service providers about hepatitis C (HCV). The purpose of this initiative is to help local social service organizations to incorporate HCV prevention information, care and treatment services into existing client programs.
In addition to describing HCV transmission, disease progression and treatment options, the detailed curriculum includes interactive exercises to help training participants develop the tools necessary to successfully integrate HCV issues into existing programs. ACRIA is also creating a technical assistance guide to help agencies develop appropriate HCV-related counseling messages. Finally, ACRIA is producing a promotional brochure for the DOHMH's use in explaining the new program.
ACRIA is pleased to have been selected for this major project because it demonstrates the city's confidence in our understanding of HCV issues as well as our capacity to create practical tools for educating non-medical care providers about complex medical issues. We expect to have all training and promotional materials for the DOHMH completed by August 2003.
This article was provided by AIDS Community Research Initiative of America. It is a part of the publication ACRIA Update. Visit ACRIA's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.