Inaugural IU National HIV Conference
As we enter the fifth decade of responding to the challenges of providing care, developing treatments, promoting prevention, and searching for a cure, HIV infections continue to constitute a persistent public health crisis in the United States and around the globe. An estimated 1.2 million people in the U.S. were living with HIV at the end of 2019, the most recent year for which data is available. As U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken noted last year at a United Nations High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS, “they are our colleagues, our neighbors, our partners and family members; people of all ages, races, faiths, nationalities. And thanks to the efforts of generations of brave leaders… fewer of these individuals feel they need to hide their status.”
Despite many scientific and medical advances, rates of new HIV infection have remained stubbornly high over the last decade. More than 36,000 people in the U.S. receive a new HIV diagnosis each year. African Americans and Hispanic/Latino people are disproportionately affected. Young people, especially young gay and bisexual men, are also severely affected.
Indiana University is steadfastly committed to supporting the federal government’s efforts to end the HIV epidemic in the United States by 2030.
Faculty members of the highly ranked IU School of Medicine, the largest medical school in the United States, provide expert clinical care to HIV patients, including at two Ryan White federally funded Tier 1 clinics. The school’s NIH-, CDC-, and industry-funded research portfolio supports investigations in HIV, and faculty in our School of Nursing, our two schools of public health, and numerous other schools are also engaged in research to reduce the prevalence of HIV and sexually transmitted diseases.
IU’s Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention, founded in 1994, promotes HIV/STD prevention in rural America. Based in our School of Public Health in Bloomington, the center provides prevention resources to professionals and the public, develops and evaluates educational materials and approaches to rural HIV and STD prevention, and shares strategies to help overcome behavioral and social barriers related to prevention in rural areas.
IU’s clinical, research, and global health programs related to HIV are also internationally recognized for their excellence, primarily through collaboration with the AMPATH HIV clinical care programs in Western Kenya. And the International Counseling, Advocacy, Research, and Education project, or I-CARE, is a multi-disciplinary effort in which IU is engaged to address the mental health aspects associated with HIV-AIDS and other social problems, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.
Indiana University is also committed to helping to address the HIV epidemic through convening this week’s conference. This gathering brings together professionals in higher education, nonprofit organizations, biomedical research, health fields, and pharmaceutical companies to discuss the current state of HIV in our nation; to discuss ways of reaching populations that are most at risk, including college students; and to share information about prevention resources, treatment, and care.
You also have the opportunity this week to hear from leading experts, including today’s keynote speaker, Harold Phillips, director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy.
This opportunity to engage in discussion about a variety of aspects of our evolving response to HIV, will, we hope, inspire you to build on the great progress that has been made, to recommit yourselves to reaching those who are most vulnerable, and to bringing an end to the HIV epidemic.
Thank you for joining us—and best wishes for an intellectually stimulating and productive conference.