Wistar Institute Gets $23M Grant to Find HIV Cure

HIV-infected H9 T-cell | Wikimedia Commons

HIV-infected H9 T-cell | Wikimedia Commons

The Philadelphia region is leading advanced trials in HIV research.

The Wistar Institute was recently awarded a $23 million grant by the National Institutes of Health to establish a five-year partnership of 30 leading HIV researchers who will work together to try and find a cure.

The Martin Delaney Collaboratories for HIV Cure Research grant will bring together a skilled team of investigators led by Luis Montaner, director of the HIV-1 Immunopathogenesis Laboratory at The Wistar Institute Vaccine Center, and James L. Riley, research associate professor at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania of the HIV-1 Laboratory.

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Big News: Temple University Researchers Make Another Breakthrough in Hunt for AIDS Cure

It’s not every day that I get to deliver news this cool: Back in 2014, researchers at Temple University developed the technology to edit human cells and “snip out” HIV DNA. Now, in a new study published in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers at Temple have taken that technology even further, honing in on CD4+ T-cells, the cells that serve as the primary hosts for HIV-1 DNA. Using blood from human patients infected with HIV, they found that their technology not only eliminated the virus from CD4+ T-cells but also protected the cells against reinfection. And it did all of this without causing any damage to the cells.

Excuse me while I pick my jaw up off the floor. Read more »

Rogue Ex-Pharmacist May Have Exposed South Jersey Hospital Patients to HIV and Hepatitis

Shore Medical Center. Photo | Facebook

Shore Medical Center. Photo | Facebook

A New Jersey hospital has sent out letters to 213 patients to notify them that they may have been exposed to hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV during their stay.

The warning came after it was discovered that an employee had allegedly stolen morphine from patients’ vials and replaced it with a saline solution. The fear is that patients may have been exposed to the ex-employee’s blood and thus contacted one of the diseases. Read more »

NATIONAL HEADLINES: Here’s How Social Media Reacted to Kathryn Knott’s Sentence

Kathryn Knott walks from the criminal justice center Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015, in Philadelphia. Knott is charged with taking part in a violent attack on a gay couple.

Kathryn Knott walks from the criminal justice center Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015, in Philadelphia.

Kathryn Knott’s sentence was big news around the country.

Kathryn Knott was trending on Twitter yesterday afternoon after being sentenced to five to 10 months in prison and two years of probation. Various national news sources have took an interest in the fact Knott is the daughter of a police chief, and social media commentators questioned the fairness of the verdict: Read more »

Commentary: Matt Lauer Gets a Failing Grade on Charlie Sheen’s HIV Interview

Sheen

Let’s get this out of the way: Charlie Sheen is no angel.

But the 50-year-old actor, who has become directly associated with a mental meltdown from several years ago that brought “winning” into our lexicon, certainly deserved better than his toxic interview with Today‘s Matt Lauer this morning about his HIV diagnosis. In short, Lauer played into a good number of the stereotypes associated with those living with the virus, and his overall tone did not help with public stigma that suggests that those who contract HIV have done some sort of morally corrupt or unethical action to get the virus. Read more »

Philadelphia NAACP Hosts HIV Training for Faith Leaders

Via Shutterstock.

Via Shutterstock.

A shocking statistic: According to The Black Church and HIV initiative, in Philadelphia, 63.3% of all people living with HIV/AIDS are African American. That’s why the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP is teaming up with Rev. Glen Spaulding of Deliverance Evangelistic Church to offer a training for faith leaders in Philadelphia this Thursday, June 18th. Read more »

Philanthropy Friday: AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania

Every Friday we spotlight a local LGBT nonprofit in Philadelphia. This week: AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania, a public-interest law firm providing free legal assistance to people with HIV/AIDS and those affected by the epidemic.

AIDS Law Project's Messapotamia Lefae and Ronda Goldfein.

AIDS Law Project’s Messapotamia Lefae and Ronda Goldfein.

Who are you? My name is Messapotamia Lefae and I work as the administrative assistant to Ronda Goldfein, executive director of the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania (ALP).

When was AIDS Law Project founded? In 1988 to focus on AIDS-related discrimination cases. At that time, no laws protected people with HIV/AIDS from discrimination.

What services does ALP provide? Our office handles civil litigation matters over a wide range of practice areas, including AIDS-related discrimination, confidentiality, HIV testing policies, public benefits (including Social Security disability benefits, Medicaid, Medicare and welfare benefits), private health benefits and insurance coverage, housing advocacy, medical-related debt, wills, living wills and powers of attorney, and immigration. We educate the public about AIDS-related legal issues, train case management professionals to become better advocates for their HIV-positive clients, and we work at local, state and national levels to achieve fair laws and policies. Our senior lawyers have distinguished themselves such that policymakers, health care providers, and educators and other attorneys consult them for advice and technical assistance.

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Teyana Taylor to Headline Philly FIGHT’s Hip Hop for Philly Concert

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

Local AIDS-fighting nonprofit Philadelphia FIGHT announced today that Harlem-born songstress Teyana Taylor will perform at the third annual Hip Hop for Philly concert on June 27th at the Trocadero Theater. The concert is free and open to youth aged 13 to 24 who receive a free HIV test at a handful of participating agencies (see those below).

Taylor just released her first studio album, VII, which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart last November. She is signed to Kanye West‘s G.O.O.D. Music label, and was featured on his recent single “Dark Fantasy.” You may also recognize her from her roles in Stomp the Yard 2: Homecoming and Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy FamilyOther acts scheduled to perform at the concert include dance troupe Project Positive, and rapper E-Hos.

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Philanthropy Friday: AIDS FUND

Every Friday we spotlight a local LGBT nonprofit in Philadelphia. This week: AIDS Fund, whose “mission is to raise awareness about the ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemic in our communities and to provide funds to HIV/AIDS service providers.”

robb

AIDS Fund Executive Director Robb Reichard

Who are you? Robb Reichard, executive director of AIDS Fund

When was AIDS Fund founded? AIDS Fund’s roots go back to 1987, when the first AIDS Walk in Philadelphia was produced by Penguin Place, the predecessor of the William Way Community Center. We were incorporated as an independent organization two years later.

The organization’s shining moment, to date? In 2011, to mark the 30th year of the epidemic, and the 25th annual AIDS Walk Philly, we produced “1981 – Until It’s Over … ” a multimedia exhibit of the local history of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. It was very rewarding to present both the struggles and advances we have experienced as a community. The positive responses we received from individuals who were a part of that history were particularly gratifying. The project then took on a life of its own with the development of the “1981-Until It’s Over … ” Timeline, a walk through history of the AIDS epidemic. We display The Timeline at community events and at high schools, colleges and universities throughout the region.

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