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For Release: June 22, 2010
David Corriveau, Media Relations Officer, Dartmouth Medical School, at or 603-653-0771

Public forum will cap HIV/AIDS conference at DMS

Charles R. Wira, Ph.D.

Lebanon, N.H.—Dartmouth Medical School (DMS) and researchers from around the world will offer a look at current efforts to treat and prevent HIV and AIDS, during a public forum at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) on Friday, July 2.

The discussion of "The Forgotten Epidemic: AIDS in the 21st Century" will take place in auditorium G - where seating is limited. It will run from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. on the last day of a three-day international conference that DMS and the National Institutes of Health are cohosting for microbiologists, pediatricians, immunologists, obstetricians and gynecologists, physiologists, and civic leaders about advances against the disease.

Speakers at the forum will include Charles R. Wira, Ph.D., a DMS professor of physiology and neurobiology and a coorganizer of the conference, and Dawn Averitt Bridge, an HIV/AIDS survivor of more than two decades. Earlier this year, President Barack Obama appointed Bridge to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS along with Dartmouth College President Jim Yong Kim, M.D., Ph.D, a former director of the Department of HIV/AIDS for the World Health Organization (WHO).

Wira has worked on HIV/AIDS immunity research [see the articles here and here] since the early 1990s. Despite medical advances in treatment and education since the HIV/AIDS epidemic came to light in the United States during the early 1980s, he notes, five new cases arise for every two people around the world who receive antiretroviral medication.

"With 34 million people infected worldwide - half of whom are women - the overwhelming majority of new cases of AIDS are women being infected by sexual transmission," Wira says. "Despite this growing epidemic, little is know about the site of infection and the immune mechanisms in the reproductive tract that protect against viral transmission. This conference brings together the world's leading scientists to address these important issues."

In addition to Bridge and Wira, presenters during the technical discussions at the DMS/NIH conference will include Peter F. Wright, M.D., a DMS professor of pediatrics and 1965 graduate of DMS with more than four decades of experience in international health programs; John Fahey, Ph.D., a DMS assistant professor of physiology/neurobiology who works with Wira on novel approaches to enhancing immune protection in women's reproductive tracts; and Susan Cu-Uvin, M.D., a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Brown University who works with HIV-positive women in the United States and Africa.


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