Category Archives: HIV Prevention and Care Project

Dr. Anthony Silvestre led the way on Pitt Men’s Study and AIDS Task Force

From the University Times

Anthony “Tony” Silvestre, whose work with the LGBT community was far ahead of its time and made the pioneering Pitt Men’s Study possible, died Sept. 1, 2022 at 75.

Doctor Silvestre on the cover of Out Magazine
Dr. Silvestre on the cover of Pittsburgh’s Out Magazine in May 1984

[…] His international advocacy and public health work began at Penn State (1971-76), continued with several Philadelphia organizations (1976-83) and brought him to Pitt in early 1984 until his retirement in 2018.

In 1976, he was the founding chairman of the Pennsylvania Governor’s Council on Sexual Minorities, likely the first such state organization in the country. He was U.S. liaison to the World Health Organization (1990-93) and a subject matter expert on HIV for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2002.

Through the years, he served on many expert and advisory panels for the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Allegheny County Department of Health on HIV, alcohol and substance use among gender and sexual minorities, community marginalization and health education and outreach.

But he is perhaps best known in Pittsburgh for his role in forming and running the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force (now Allies for Health and Wellbeing) in its early years. In the process, he supported more than a dozen other state and community groups promoting LGBTQIA-related and HIV-related health messaging for at-risk communities.

In conjunction with his research and teaching in the Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, he founded the Pennsylvania Prevention Project (now the HIV Prevention and Care Project) there in 1993 to advance comprehensive HIV planning with impacted communities. He also helped create and direct the School of Public Health’s Center for LGBT Research, and was honored by Pitt with the Chancellor’s Distinguished Service Award.

He published more than 45 peer-reviewed articles, proceedings and book chapters, and created many state and federal professional reports and presentations as well, much of which can be found at Dickinson College.

Read the full article.

Give us your feedback regarding HIV prevention and care in Pennsylvania

If you or someone you love has been affected by HIV, the PA Department of Health and the HIV Prevention and Care Project at the University of Pittsburgh need your input.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health, Division of HIV Disease is seeking input on the planned strategies and activities that will go into the 2022-2027 Integrated HIV Prevention and Care Plan.

This plan guides all activities related to HIV prevention and care in Pennsylvania. Feedback will help the Division of HIV Disease most effectively plan for the ongoing needs of all people served in Pennsylvania.

Go to this link to participate in the survey: https://pitt.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_er3ujTdKIIJC2x0
If you have any questions, send and email to stakeholders@stophiv.com.

Universities create special HIV testing initiative to provide free HIV self-test kits to PA residents

According to a 2020 CDC report, out of more than 30,000 new cases of HIV infection in the United States, Black and Latinx populations bear the brunt of being most at risk, accounting for two-thirds (20,000) of the new infections. The reason (the CDC also reports) is due to institutionalized health disparities among those groups. In other words, Black and Latinx people face higher levels of discrimination when seeking health care.

To help address the issue, the HIV Prevention and Care Project at the University of Pittsburgh, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Expanded HIV Testing Initiative at Penn State University created a state-wide program that allows residents of Pennsylvania to obtain a free HIV self-test kit through the mail.

Ora Quick test kit image
The free test kits use an oral swab and you get results in 20 minutes

Knowing your HIV status is the first step in preventing the spread of the virus. People who test positive can obtain treatment that keeps the virus in check, and therefore makes it next to impossible to spread to others.

To obtain a free HIV self-test kit, go to www.getmyHIVtest.com. Taking care of your health is part of taking care of your community.

To find out more about the free HIV test kit program, and find other HIV/STI testing resources, you can go to the HIV Prevention and Care Project Website at https://hivpreventionandcareproject.com/resources/. If you still have questions, send an email to info@getmyHIVtest.com.

Suboptimal Rates of HIV Testing Among Adolescents in Pediatric Clinics

From Infectiousdiseaseadvisor.com

Communication between pediatricians and adolescent boys who engage in same-sex sexual intercourse may be a potential avenue to increase HIV testing in this population, according to a study published in Pediatrics.

Although it is estimated that 14.5% of HIV infections are undiagnosed in the United States, this estimation is 51.4% (>3.5-times higher) in individuals aged 13 to 24 years because of poor testing rates among those who are aged <18 years.

There have been few studies that have described HIV testing rates among minors; these data are needed to reveal opportunities for pediatrician-adolescent communication about HIV and sexual orientation, which could increase the odds of testing. This study described HIV testing rates and identified salient individual, family, school, and healthcare influences among adolescent boys who engage in same-sex sexual intercourse (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT03511131).

Read the full article.

HIV in the United States and Dependent Areas 2018

From CDC.gov

In 2018, 37,832 people received an HIV diagnosisa in the United States (US) and dependent areas.b From 2010 to 2017, HIV diagnoses decreased 11% among adults and adolescents in the 50 states and District of Columbia. However, annual diagnoses have increased among some groups.

HIV DiagnosesOf the 37,832 new h I v diagnoses in the united states 69 percent were among men who have sex with men, 24 percent were among heterosexuals and 7 percent were among injection drugs users.

New HIV Diagnoses in the US and Dependent Areas for the Most-Affected Subpopulations, 2018 (click image to enlarge).


Graph depicts New HIV Diagnoses in the US for the Most-Affected Subpopulations
Subpopulations representing 2% or less of all people who received an HIV diagnosis in 2018 are not represented in this chart.
Source: Diagnoses of HIV infection in the United States and dependent areas, 2018pdf.