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AIDS Relief Ambassador Addresses Research Conference

AIDS Ambassador Eric Goosby

Martin Iguchi, dean of the School of Nursing & Health Studies; Zhihuan Jennifer Huang, associate professor of international health; and Ambassador Eric Goosby, U.S. global AIDS coordinator, gather during HIV/AIDS research conference presented by Georgetown's international health department on July 21.

July 26, 2012 – China has greatly stepped up its response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic during the past decade, Ambassador Eric Goosby, who leads the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), said this past Saturday. 

Goosby gave a keynote address July 21 in Riggs Library for a conference at Georgetown called “The Frontier of HIV/AIDS Research in China,” sponsored by the Department of International Health at the School of Nursing & Health Studies (NHS).

“In my view, China has made really tremendous strides,” said Goosby, who attended the Summit on the Role of the Christian Faith Community in Global Health and HIV/AIDS at Georgetown yesterday.

A Leadership Role

The ambassador said the number of antiretroviral clinics and people receiving treatment has increased in China, and there also has been an increase in methadone clinics, needle exchange programs and specialized education for physicians and nurses who care for HIV/AIDS patients.

“The door to both treatment and prevention remains access to both counseling and testing,” he said.

Goosby said China’s challenges include reaching high-risk, stigmatized populations.

“We look to China … to play a leadership role in the region,” he said.

Better Outcomes

NHS epidemiologist Zhihuan Jennifer Huang, associate professor of international health, directed the conference, which took place the day before the XIX International AIDS Conference began in Washington. 

Jesse Bump, assistant professor of international health, and Helena Manguerra (NHS’15), an international health major, helped plan the event.

“Our event helps leverage the confluence of policymakers, researchers, and activists to advance HIV prevention in China and promote better outcomes for persons living with HIV/AIDS,” Huang said.

The conference brought together researchers from Chinese and U.S. institutions for a day of panel and poster presentations. The panels focused on the epidemic of HIV and sexually transmitted infections in China, intervention and prevention, and social and cultural factors among high-risk populations.

“Ambassador Goosby has provided a very nice opening that has set the stage for our research,” she said.

Hope and Optimism

NHS Dean Martin Iguchi has conducted extensive research on the intersections of drug addiction, drug policy, the criminal justice system, health disparities and HIV transmission. 

“We’ve been dealing with this problem for a very long time,” Iguchi said at the conference. “We are at an important transition point. It is important to reflect back that we have come a long way from days of dire despair to hope and optimism as we experience significant declines in incidence and prevalence in some populations.”

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