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Media Contact: Tia McCollors 19 July 2004    
  (404) 727-5692   Print  | Email ]

International Conference To Address Role of Families in HIV/AIDS Epidemic
Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, former U.S. AIDS Czar Sandra Thurman and Tom Insel, MD, Director of the National Institutes of Mental Health will join experts in Atlanta to discuss the role and issues of families dealing with the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The public health, government, and community leaders will convene July 21-23 at the XIIth International Research Conference on the Role of Families in Preventing and Adapting to HIV/AIDS. The conference theme is Enhancing the Social and Mental Health of Families Affected by HIV/AIDS.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), between 800,000 and 900,000 people currently live in the U.S. with HIV and the rates are growing at about 40,000 new infections each year. Through 2002, AIDS diagnoses totaled approximately 877,275 cases.

Emory University behavioral scientists Ralph J. DiClemente, PhD and Gina Wingood, ScD, MPH are co-chairs of the conference's planning committee. Both have focused their research on HIV-related behavioral risks, transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, and how social structures such as media, family and cultural factors influence risky behaviors.

"HIV is becoming more of a family epidemic. We've usually focused our prevention programs on individuals, but now we're involving partners, parents, caregivers and adolescent children," says Dr. Wingood, associate professor of behavioral sciences and health education, Rollins School of Public Health. "It's time to broaden our perspective from isolated individuals to the issues that families face in providing care, intervention and treatment."

Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter will provide remarks for the kick-off community day event to be held on July 21 at The Carter Center from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. It is a free forum for Georgians working in the field of HIV/AIDS.

Mrs. Carter, who currently serves as Vice Chair for The Carter Center, has worked for more than three decades to improve the quality of life of people around the world. Today, she is an advocate for mental health, early childhood immunization, human rights, and conflict resolution and has maintained a life-long dedication to issues affecting women and children.

The community day is sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health, the Emory University Rollins School of Public Health, and the Emory Center for AIDS Research (CFAR).

The following two-day scientific conference, held at the Sheraton Colony Square in midtown Atlanta, is designed to present research findings on family processes and HIV/AIDS disease. Thurman, president of the International AIDS Trust; James Curran, MD, MPH, dean of Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health; and Kim Miller, PhD, a behavioral scientist and research sociologist in the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention at the CDC, will speak, along with researchers from various academic institutions.

Major topics will include developing interventions for adolescents, global research on HIV and families, HIV prevention and interventions for displaced families, faith-based collaborations, and the effects of HIV/AIDS on family mental health.

The scientific conference is sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institutes of Health, the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, the Emory Center for AIDS Research and the University of Miami.

To RSVP for the community day or to learn more about registration for the scientific conference, contact LaShun Robinson at 404-712-9189; or Eve Rose at 404-727-9863 or Space is limited.

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