Wednesday, November 23, 2016

New University of Maryland center targeting HIV launches with $138 million in federal grants

There are about 36.7 million people worldwide who live with HIV. Of those 36.7 million, 70% live in sub-Saharan Africa. Additionally 800,000 of the 1.1 million deaths due to the disease have been in Africa. 

Meanwhile, the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine has been working in countries that suffer from high rates of HIV infections, aiming to prevent new infections and find and treat people already with infections. 

Fortunately, the Institute of Human Virology’s Center for International Health, Education and Biosecurity will be receiving $138 million in federal funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) geared towards building programs to combat HIV/AIDS in Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Zambia. Dr. Deus Bazira Mubangizi, the director of the Institute of Virology’s Center for International Health, Education, and Biosecurity, will guide the use of the funds.

In order to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS now though, different alliances are pulling together their efforts to address the big problem of HIV/AIDS. Dr. Chris Beyrer, an associate director of the Johns Hopkins University Center for Global Health 

“said HIV can now be treated with a once-a-day pill, much like hypertension.’But you have to have money and resources and systems to get it to people,’ said Beyrer, who has collaborated with University of Maryland scientists on HIV-related projects. ‘When we started this, basically most people were infectious disease doctors, but we realized we need many more kinds of people. This is what the global health movement has been about, bringing people from across disciplines to solve problems in an integrated way.’”

It is very exciting that the funding will be able to support sustained investments and can further the infrastructure that has been built in Africa within the last 20 years, where much more is needed. 

For more information on how the $138 million from the CDC will be allocated, read here:

Emily Nguyen

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