There are thousands of stories about people living with HIV, people infected with AIDS struggling to care for themselves and educators passionately teaching how to reduce the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. Stories abound about activists seeking help for those living with HIV/AIDS and physicians and research scientists searching for a cure.
|AIDS summit attendees peruse a variety of health information sources. (Photo by Thomas Brown)|
Listening to just one of these stories can change a life. These kinds of personal accounts and more were highlighted at the fourth annual San Gabriel Valley HIV/AIDS Action Summit at City of Hope on Sept. 22.
More than 150 people attended the morning-long event, which included a presentation by Alexandra M. Levine, M.D., M.A.C.P., who also led a panel about the state of HIV/AIDS treatment. The panel included Michael Gottlieb, M.D., assistant clinical professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, Alejandro Sanchez, M.D., visiting professor of clinical medicine and director of the Office of Global Health at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, and John Zaia, M.D., chair and professor of virology at City of Hope.
Gottlieb and Sanchez spoke about the astounding increases in the numbers of women and African-Americans dying of HIV in the U.S. every year, while Zaia emphasized the possibility of a cure using cellular therapy to engineer protection from HIV.
The summit featured a contentious panel on HIV/AIDS and the media that included KCBS anchor Laura Diaz, USC Annenberg School of Communications Director Larry Gross, Los Angeles Times science writer Thomas H. Maugh, La Opinión reporter Yurina Rico and Joe Hopkins of the Pasadena Journal. Pasadena Star News editor Larry Wilson moderated the panel.
Panel members admitted that media today rarely cover HIV/AIDS and noted a reluctance in some ethnic communities to discuss the disease because HIV/AIDS may be seen as a gay issue.
Assemblymember Anthony Portantino and City of Hope co-sponsored the yearly event.