NEW UH INSTITUTE FOCUSES ON HIV/AIDS RATES
UH Health Clinic Offering Free HIV Testing on National HIV Testing
HOUSTON, June 22, 2007 – About 40,000 people become infected
with HIV each year in the United States. There were 4.3 million
new infections worldwide in 2006, and an estimated 39.5 million
people are living with HIV.
HIV and AIDS will be one of the first initiatives the University
of Houston College of Pharmacy will tackle through the new Institute
of Community Health (ICH). The first step in battling a disease
is diagnosis, so in recognition of National HIV Testing Day, the
University of Houston Health Center will offer free HIV tests from
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.on Wednesday, June 27, 2007.
“Texas remains as one of the states with a high incidence
and prevalence of HIV/AIDs among ethnic minorities, namely African-Americans
and Hispanics,” said E. James Essein, a UH pharmacy professor
and ICH director. “There are a few institutions locally that
are conducting studies on minority health issues, including HIV.
The institute will foster collaboration among UH faculty and other
Texas Medical Center researchers on how to design and implement
programs to reduce the burden of diseases that disproportionately
affect minority populations in Texas.”
In a report released in March, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC) spotlighted this disparity. Although only 13
percent of the U.S. population, blacks accounted for 49 percent
of the new HIV/AIDs diagnoses in 2005; Hispanics and whites accounted
for 18 percent and 31 percent of the new cases, respectively.
“The overall goal of the ICH is to create an interdisciplinary
research environment where investigators can conduct basic, clinical
and translational research that will advance knowledge in the field
of community health, promote health and prevent diseases,”
Along with HIV/AIDs prevention research, the ICH staff also will
study medication use and effectiveness, population-based pharmaceutical
care and health services for those with mental disorders.
Funded by the UH College of Pharmacy and grants from the National
Institutes of Health, CDC and private foundations, the institute
will be based at the College of Pharmacy’s Texas Medical Center
“Our close proximity to other Texas Medical Center institutions
will provide an opportunity for collaboration in the areas of research
and service delivery,” Essien said. The ICH staff includes
professors from the UH College of Pharmacy, the University of Wyoming,
the University of Connecticut and the University of Texas.
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