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Press Release  
Release Date: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 4:50 PM
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact:
Rachel Mann
Communications Specialist
202.238.2631    
rachel.mann@howard.edu
     
http://www.howard.edu/newsroom/
     
Howard University College of Medicine Leads 6th Annual National Clinicians HIV/AIDS Testing and Awareness Day
 

WASHINGTON (July 24, 2013) – This week marked the sixth annual National Clinicians HIV/AIDS Testing and Awareness Day (NCHATAD), spearheaded by Howard University’s College of Medicine. The University partnered with institutions nationwide to strengthen the HIV clinical workforce and increase clinicians’ knowledge, awareness, and commitment to eradicate HIV/AIDS and stigma surrounding the disease within minority communities.

On July 21, Howard worked with partners  and congressional leaders to help reduce the stigma and barriers associated with routine HIV testing and to increase treatment capacity.  This is part of the University’s local, regional and national network plan to empower clinicians with training to increase their awareness about HIV/AIDS and to effectively test, refer and treat minorities living with HIV/AIDS.

Over the past decade, Howard has educated and trained more than 43,000 clinicians nationwide to provide culturally competent quality HIV care.

“Ongoing data shows that while the number of new HIV infections has been static, the number of people living with the virus is growing,” said Goulda Downer, Ph.D., assistant professor of the Howard University College of Medicine and director of Howard’s National AIDS Education and Training Center. “This indicates an urgent need for strengthening our clinical workforce ­­– one that is not only willing, but simultaneously able to provide culturally appropriate, quality care.”

Earlier this year, Downer received the 2013 Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust Leadership in Advocacy Award on behalf of the University, for her work in strengthening the nation’s clinical HIV workforce.
Downer noted that currently over 1.1 million Americans are living with HIV and almost 1 in 5 (18.1%) is unaware of their infection. Individuals who are unaware of their HIV status may unknowingly and unintentionally transmit the virus to others.

“This is not just a one-day event,” said Downer, “As clinicians, we must continue to raise awareness daily and be empowered to provide effective and consistent support for our community with HIV/AIDS. ”

As community leaders, clinicians are positioned to be advocates of HIV testing. By setting an example and getting tested themselves, clinicians can take a bold and decisive stand towards reducing stigma and HIV/AIDS-related disparities among ethnic minorities.

On this day, clinicians were urged to:

1) Set the example by taking an HIV test themselves, demonstrating how simple and non-intrusive HIV testing can be and increasing the number of clinicians offering routine HIV testing.

2) Become more engaged in ongoing dialogue on strategies for identifying and overcoming region-specific stigma and providing the best culturally appropriate, clinical care to all persons with HIV/AIDS.

3) Willingly mentor low-volume clinicians (i.e. clinicians treating fewer than 25 patients in their caseload who are HIV positive) so that they become more proficient in providing quality care.


ABOUT HOWARD

Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. Since 1998, the University has produced two Rhodes Scholars, two Truman Scholars, a Marshall Scholar, 30 Fulbright Scholars and 11 Pickering Fellows. Howard also produces more on campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, call 202-238-2330, or visit the University's Web site at www.howard.edu.


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