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Institute of Human Virology leads Baltimore on National HIV Testing Day

Thursday, June 27, 2013


Over 700 Baltimoreans tested for HIV and provided comprehensive health services

BALTIMORE--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- On Tuesday, June 25, the fifth annual City Uprising HIV Outreach Day brought together more than 500 volunteers, including faculty and students from the University of Maryland Baltimore, and community members, to actively support today’s National HIV Testing Day. Volunteers encouraged citizens to get tested for HIV and receive other health services including blood pressure screening, case management, healthy lifestyle screenings, oral cancer screenings and legal referrals at four sites across the city. Led by the JACQUES Initiative’s Project SHALEM – a program of the world-renowned Institute of Human Virology (IHV) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine – in partnership with the Gallery Church of Baltimore and HopeSprings, the event drew more than 700 citizens.

“In order to address the HIV epidemic and other health disparities in Baltimore, it is crucial that academic medical centers team-up with the community,” said Derek Spencer, MS CRNP, Executive Director of the JACQUES Initiative. “City Uprising HIV Outreach Day is the model for the future to increase access to care and improve health in urban centers across the country.”

According to Baltimore’s Health Disparity Report Card, health disparities will only be eliminated with collaborative multi-agency and community efforts to ensure that all communities have fair access to the resources and opportunities necessary to be healthy. This year’s outreach included a social media campaign to encourage young adults to get tested for HIV. The demographic aged 13-30 years is particularly impacted by the epidemic, comprising 39% of Baltimore’s new infections in 2009, while 3 of 4 infected men who have sex with men aged 15-22 years are unaware of their HIV status.

IHV’s JACQUES Initiative addresses this statistic through a pioneering academic curriculum known as Preparing the Future (PTF). Launched last year, PTF’s interdisciplinary program has already trained more than 450 students and healthcare providers to address the goals of President Barack Obama’s National HIV/AIDS Strategy, including decreasing such health disparities.

“HIV/AIDS is a very grave health issue in this country, especially in the State of Maryland, but we can make a difference by taking on a more active role in our communities,” said Jane Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN, Dean of University of Maryland School of Nursing and University Director for Interprofessional Education. “The University of Maryland is serious about doing its part to educate and raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and other health-related issues, and the university’s faculty and students are proud to collaborate in this important effort.”

Faculty and students of the University of Maryland partnered with the faith-based community on Tuesday. Community leaders including Councilman Brandon Scott of City Council District 2 also came out to show support and get tested for HIV. Since 2009, Project SHALEM has provided HIV outreach, testing and linkage to care to more than 10,000 individuals. Project SHALEM engages over 500 volunteers per year, who comprise all sectors of the community, including retirees, housewives, business people, persons living well with HIV and students.

About the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine

Formed in 1996 as a partnership between the State of Maryland, the City of Baltimore, the University System of Maryland and the University of Maryland Medical System, IHV is an institute of the University of Maryland School of Medicine and is home to some of the most globally-recognized and world-renowned experts in all of virology. The IHV is the first center in the United States to combine the disciplines of basic research, epidemiology and clinical research in a concerted effort to speed the discovery of diagnostics and therapeutics for a wide variety of chronic and deadly viral and immune disorders - most notably HIV and AIDS.