World AIDS Day takes place on the 1st of December each year. It’s an opportunity to highlight the success of worldwide efforts to combat HIV/AIDS, as well as the importance of continued support for these efforts.
Researchers and clinicians, including those at Massachusetts General Hospital, acknowledge that although great strides have been made in the clinical treatment of HIV over the past three decades, there is still work to do.
In recognition of World AIDS day, we have collected some recent stories about the ways Mass General investigators are working to expand our knowledge of the virus, reduce transmission rates, improve health outcomes for HIV-positive patients and advance treatment.
The Ragon Institute
The Phillip T. and Susan M. Ragon Institute was established in February 2009 at Mass General, MIT and Harvard with the dual mission of contributing to the accelerated discovery of an HIV/AIDS vaccine and subsequently establishing itself as a world leader in the collaborative study of immunology. Learn more about their exciting research efforts.
Exploring the Risks of Cardiovascular Disease in HIV-positive Women
Sara Looby, PhD, ANP-BC, FAAN, is a Nurse Scientist at the Yvonne L. Munn Center for Nursing Research, an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and a Principal Investigator in the Program of Nutritional Metabolism at Mass General. Through her research efforts, Looby is investigating how HIV might influence the development of conditions such as heart disease and the increased risk for heart attacks that tend to impact HIV-positive populations at an earlier age compared to non-infected populations. Learn how she’s using a patient-centered approach to reduce cardiovascular disease risk for HIV-positive women.
Levison Makes a Dramatic Bid to Improve HIV Care Compliance
Julie Levison, MD, MPH, MPhil, FACP, is a clinician-investigator in the Division of General Internal Medicine at Mass General, an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and a bi-lingual (Spanish-English) infectious disease physician at MGH Chelsea HealthCare Center. Levison and her team have created a dramatic video illustrating the consequences of letting HIV care lapse. The video is part of a research project designed to improve outcomes in one subset of the HIV patient population—migrants from Puerto Rico and Latin America. Watch the video and learn how it could potentially improve HIV care adherence by Latino immigrants.
The Health Hazards of Smoking in HIV-positive Populations
Krishna Reddy, MD, is a physician in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and the Medical Practice Evaluation Center at Mass General. His research focuses on comorbidities in people living with HIV, including smoking-related diseases and tuberculosis. He recently led a study that found people with HIV who smoke are more likely to die from lung cancer than from HIV itself. Read more about the study and its implications.
(top photo courtesy of The Ragon Institute)