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About administrator

University of Pittsburgh Research Assistant and Technical Writer

Be a part of the Pitt Men’s Study World AIDS Day Memorial on Dec. 1, 2021

The Community Advisory Board of the Pitt Men’s Study has started planning this year’s World’s AIDS Day Memorial to be held on Tuesday, December 1, 2021.

World AIDS Day logo This year’s service—like last year—will be virtual, and the board’s organizers are asking community organizations and individuals to participate. Last year’s service, which can be viewed on at the link above, included musical performances and tributes to honor people who’ve been affected by HIV and AIDS.

If you’re interested in performing or providing a tribute, please contact Bart Rauluk, Co-Chair of the Pitt Men’s Study Community Advisory Board, at barauluk@gmail.com. If you know someone who died from HIV/AIDS and would like their name to be read aloud during the annual Circle of Love tribute, you can send an email to Ray Yeo at rgy2@pitt.edu. Please add “Circle of Love” in the subject line.

More information about the World AIDS Day Memorial for 2021 will be posted as it becomes available. If you want to know more about the Pitt Men’s Study and our history, you can go to our history page.

People who are immunocompromised should get an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine

From HIV.gov

C D C logoThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised get an additional dose of the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine after the initial two doses. Widespread vaccination is a critical tool to help stop the pandemic.

This includes:

  • Recipients of organ or stem cell transplants
  • People with advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active recipients of treatment for cancer
  • People who are taking some medications that weaken the immune system
  • And others

We spoke with Harold J. Phillips, Director of The White House Office of National AIDS Policy, about what people with HIV need know. “There are three key messages we need to share,” he said:

  • Everyone over 12 years of age, regardless of HIV status, get vaccinated
  • Those with advanced HIV disease and/or not on medications, get a third dose of the vaccine
  • Those in HIV care and treatment who are virally suppressed, talk with your health care provider about the need for an additional dose.

“By working together and spreading the word,” he continued, “we can help keep everyone in our HIV community safe and healthy.”

Join a research study to help understand how sleep can affect the health of people living with HIV

The aim of this study is to understand how sleep can affect the health of people living with HIV through effects on the immune system. We hope information from this research will help us find ways to improve sleep or lead to treatments that could reduce the bad effects of poor sleep.

The study involves two (2) visits to Montefiore Hospital. Each visit is about one (1) hour.

man sleeping in bedOn the first visit, subjects would complete questionnaires and get a watch-like device similar to a Fitbit. Subjects would wear the device for two (2) weeks to track their sleep patterns. Subjects would also answer a few questions in a diary each morning about their sleep. At the end of two (2) weeks, subjects would return the watch, complete more questionnaires and provide a urine and blood sample.

Subjects will receive up to $100 for their participation. Parking vouchers or bus fare will also be provided.

Please remember that subjects may choose whether they would like to participate in the study. It is completely voluntary and there are no consequences if subjects decide not to.

To learn more about the study, please call the study team at 412-330-1453 or email them at healthysleep@pitt.edu.  You can also download the study flyer pdf for more information.

Shepherd Wellness Community honors Scott Peterman

From the Shephard Wellness Community

Scott PetermanPlease join us at Shepherd Wellness Community for a Community Open House on Thursday, October 7, 6-8 pm as we honor Scott Peterman, who retired last December (in the midst of the pandemic) after serving 21 years as our Executive Director!

Stop by our center at 4800 Sciota St, Pittsburgh 15224 (one block from West Penn Hospital – use our S. Mathilda St entrance with the awning) to greet Scott, enjoy appetizers and beverages, and see how we have honored him for his two plus decades of faithful service. No RSVP needed, but vaccination and masks required.

Click here for the official invitation letter with more information, and here to see a tribute plaque and donor flyer for Scott which will hang in our center.

For those who cannot attend, we invite you to send greetings to Scott through SWC (office@scwonline.org or by regular mail to our Sciota St. address), with a deadline of August 20 for submissions. All letters will be compiled and presented to Scott.

As we are finally able to honor Scott upon his retirement, we hope you can join us and give him your personal greetings on October 7!

 

People living with HIV are eligible for COIVD 19 vaccination now

A message from Rob Ghormoz, Secretary of Intergovernmental Affairs, Office of the Governor…

The Pennsylvania Department of Health today will announce two additional categories of eligible individuals to receive the COVID-19 vaccination as part of Phase 1A. Beginning today, all individuals 65 and older, and individuals ages 16-64 with certain medical conditions, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that increase the risk of severe illness from the virus, are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination. The Departments’ Updated Interim Vaccine Plan can be found here.

Those conditions are outlined by the CDC here and include: Cancer; Chronic kidney disease; COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease); Down Syndrome; Heart conditions such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies; Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant, blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines; Obesity; Severe Obesity; Pregnancy; Sickle cell disease; Smoking; and Type 2 diabetes mellitus.

If you are part of a group that is eligible for vaccination, you can use the Pennsylvania Vaccine Provider Map to find a place to schedule your vaccine. Contact the vaccine provider of your choice directly to schedule an appointment. This map will be updated as more locations receive vaccine. Although a provider may have received vaccine, there is no guarantee that they have open appointments as supply is still very limited. Check back frequently as the map will be updated multiple times per week.

Use your brain to help people living with HIV

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Nebraska Medical Center are looking for participants living with HIV, and participants not living with HIV, for a non-invasive brain imaging research study.

sculpture of human face and brain

Image courtesy of David Matos

The purpose of the first research study is to investigate brain activity, cognitive functioning, and aging in those living with HIV versus those living without HIV. The human brain and cognitive abilities change as people age, and this research study aims to identify those changes.

The purpose of the second research study is to investigate how chronic cannabis use affects brain activity and cognitive functioning differently in people who are living with HIV and those who are not living with HIV. To study the brain, researchers will be using a series of brain imaging tests, both of which are completely non-invasive. There is no cost to you, and you will receive compensation for your time and travel expenses.

You may be eligible if:

  • You are between the ages of 19 and 72
  • You have not had a stroke or been diagnosed with any neurological or psychiatric disorder(s)
  • You are able to complete a series of mental tasks You are not pregnant or planning to become pregnant
  • You either regularly use cannabis or do not use cannabis

This research study is sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health. For more information, please call 412-246-5590 or send an email to mindscan2019@gmail.com. You can also download the study brochure.

Protect Yourself from the Flu: Important Info for People with HIV

From HIV.gov

Getting a flu vaccine during 2020-2021 is more important than ever because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. When you get vaccinated, you reduce your risk of getting sick with flu and possibly being hospitalized or dying from flu. This season, getting a flu vaccine has the added benefit of reducing the overall burden on the health care system and saving medical resources for care of COVID-19 patients.

People with HIV—especially those who have a very low CD4 cell count or who are not taking antiretroviral therapy—are at high risk for serious flu-related complications. For this reason, it is especially important that people with HIV get a flu shot annually. (The nasal spray flu vaccine is not recommended for people with HIV.)

In addition to getting a flu shot every year, people with HIV should take the same everyday preventive actions CDC recommends of everyone, including avoiding people who are sick, covering coughs, and washing hands often.

Read the full article on HIV.gov.

Switching HIV treatment to delstrigo is safe and effective

From Poz.com

People with HIV who switch from a stable antiretroviral (ARV) regimen to Delstrigo (doravirine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate/lamivudine) had a high rate of full suppression of the virus at the three-year mark in a large Phase III clinical trial.

Princy Kumar, MD, of Georgetown University, presented findings from the open-label, randomized, active-controlled, noninferiority DRIVE-SHIFT trial at the virtual HIV Drug Therapy Glasgow meeting.

Delstrigo contains the relatively new non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) Pifeltro (doravirine), which, like Delstrigo, was approved in September 2019.

Read the full article.