UCLA Hosts PHR Town Meeting on Global and Local AIDS on October 23

For Immediate Release

UCLA Hosts PHR Town Meeting on Global and Local AIDS on October 23

LOS ANGELES - Earlier this year, the US approved $48 billion for global AIDS. A
few weeks later the Centers for Disease Control revealed that HIV is
spreading in the United States far faster than was previously thought.

On Thursday at UCLA, experts will hold a town meeting sponsored by
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), UCLA Program in Global Health, and
AIDS Project Los Angeles to discuss the current state of efforts to
combat the AIDS pandemic both internationally and here in the United
States-what has succeeded, what has failed, and what must happen now.
Speakers include US Representative Howard Berman (D-CA); Craig
Thompson, the Executive Director of AIDS Project Los Angeles; and the
Honorable Dr. Eloida Tumwesigye, a Ugandan medical doctor,
Parliamentarian, and outspoken AIDS advocate.

The town meeting will take place on October 23, from noon to
1:30 pm at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, 757 Westwood Plaza,
Tamkin Auditorium (Room B130) on the UCLA campus.

PEPFAR (The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) was
reauthorized in July, 2008 --at $48 billion--for US efforts to combat
AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria abroad. The expanded program (known as
PEPFAR 2) now includes Latin American countries; PEPFAR 1 had focused
mainly on Africa.

In August, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
revealed that new HIV infections in the US have escalated from 40,000
annually to 56,300--with numbers in the African-American, Hispanic and
gay communities skyrocketing. People of color are disproportionately
affected, with rates per 100,000 persons of 83.7 among Blacks and 29.3
among Hispanics, compared with 11.5 among whites, while 53 percent of
total infections are attributed to men who have sex with men (MSM).
Advocates are calling on the next president to develop what the US asks
of other nations it supports in combating AIDS: a national strategy to
achieve improved and more equitable results.

Advocates are calling for a National AIDS Strategy to address the problem. "The
US is at a crossroads-we know how to save lives; we have already saved
a million people from dying of AIDS in Africa. We now have the
opportunity to build on our accomplishments and experience by fully
funding PEPFAR 2 programs. We must address the social inequalities
fueling the HIV/AIDS epidemic, especially among women, if we are to
achieve the right to health for everyone," said Pat Daoust, MSN RN,
PHR's Health Action AIDS Campaign Director.

"In the US, the debate about where to direct scarce resources must
cease, and a commitment to adequately fund all aspects of combating
HIV/AIDS in impacted communities must follow," said APLA Executive
Director Craig E. Thompson.

"We are in a difficult time economically and the temptation might be
to cut back on foreign assistance or how much money we spend to prevent
disease. This is not the time to shortchange our international efforts,
because they are just beginning to pay off. And we simply need to get
ahead of the epidemic in the United States. All HIV infections are
preventable and we need the resources to do a better job," said Thomas
J. Coates PhD, UCLA professor of medicine.

According to UNAIDS, 75% of young adults with HIV in sub-Saharan
Africa are women and girls, who are especially vulnerable to HIV
infection because of their low social status. PEPFAR 2 supports the
implementation of programs that enhance the status of women,
potentially giving them more power in social relationships, and thus
helping them avoid HIV infection.

If fully funded, PEPFAR 2 also promises to prevent 12 million HIV
infections and treat three million people over five years. The
reauthorized program made several key changes from PEPFAR 1, including
a focus on women and AIDS-though much more must be done to protect the
human rights of women.

Speakers:

  • Congressman Howard Berman (D-California), chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
  • Honorable Dr. Eloida Tumwesigye, member of parliament and
    chair of the Committee on HIV/AIDS and Related Matters of Uganda;
    Patron of the Action Group for Health, Human Rights, and HIV/AIDS
    (AGHA), PHR's partner in Uganda.
  • Gail Wyatt, associate director of the UCLA AIDS Institute
    and professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences, Semel Institute
    at UCLA.
  • Thomas Coates, associate director of the UCLA AIDS Institute
    , director of the UCLA Program in Global Health and advisor to PHR's
    Health AIDS Action campaign.
  • Craig E. Thompson, executive director of AIDS Project Los Angeles.

Physicians for Human Rights: To follow PHR's trip, visit PHRinCalifornia.Org

For 20 years, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), based in Boston, MA, has advanced health and dignity by protecting human rights. As a founding member of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, PHR shared the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize.

UCLA Program in Global Health

The UCLA Program in Global Health partners with academic
institutions in developing countries to advance prevention, policy, and
clinical research for HIV/AIDS and other diseases in all regions of the
world. The program works with its partners in developing countries to
integrate treatment and prevention of HIV, implement innovative
prevention programs, stimulate the implementation of beneficial
policies and laws, address gender inequity, and train the next
generation of scientists in the United States and both scientists and
advocates in developing countries to continue this essential work.

AIDS Project Los Angeles

AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA), one of the largest non-profit AIDS
service organizations in the United States, provides bilingual direct
services, prevention education and leadership on HIV/AIDS-related
policy and legislation. Marking 25 years of service in 2008, APLA is a
community-based, volunteer-supported organization with local, national
and global reach. For more information, visit APLAorg.

 

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Kate Krauss
PHR Health Action AIDS
Media Relations Coordinator
kkrauss [at] phrusa [dot] org
Tel: (617) 395-4198
Cell: (215) 939-7852

Enrique Rivero
UCLA Health Sciences
Media Relations
erivero [at] mednet [dot] ucla [dot] edu
Tel: (310) 794-2273

Justin Burke
AIDS Project Los Angeles
jburke [at] apla [dot] edu
Tel: (213) 201-1525

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