“This Awareness Day activity is very important — to remind the community that HIV is still a serious threat, especially to the black community,” said M. Monica Sweeney, MD, MPH, FACP. “In spite of all of the smiling faces on TV advertising medications to treat HIV, we need to focus on all aspects of prevention. We have come a long way in 35 years but still have a very long way to go when blacks/African Americans are still almost twice as likely to die from HIV/AIDS as a white with HIV/AIDS. We each have a part to play in stopping the epidemic.”
Of the 55% of black Americans with HIV to receive medical care in 2011, only 35% continued receiving medical care through 2013, according to a study released this week by the Center for Disease Control. At the same time, 45% of new HIV infection diagnoses in 2013 occurred in non-Hispanic blacks/African Americans, who represent only 12% of the US population.
In Brooklyn, 29,000 residents were living with HIV/AIDS in 2014, according to the Downstate HIV Center for Women and Children. The borough saw the highest number of new cases (29.3%) in New York City, and is home to the largest number of those diagnosed with both HIV and AIDS.
Monica Sweeney, MD, MPH, FACP ’75 serves as vice dean for global engagement and clinical professor and chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management in the School of Public Health at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. Dr. Sweeney’s most recent position was as the assistant commissioner for the Bureau of HIV/AIDS (BHIV) Prevention and Control in the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Dr. Sweeney is the immediate past chair of the SUNY Downstate Council, and served on the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA), and as president of the Medical Society of the County of Kings. She served as co-chair of the Physician Advisory Council of the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute, and as president of the Clinical Directors Network. In the fight against HIV/AIDS, Dr. Sweeney led the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s prevention and control efforts for several years. Her service on the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS resulted in new initiatives to control the disease nationally globally.
Bisrat K. Abraham, MD, MPH is an infectious disease physician who recently joined BHIV as Director of Clinical Operations and Provider Communication. She completed her MD/MPH training at Emory University and her internal medicine residency at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. After residency, she joined the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service program as a “disease detective” within the Division of Tuberculosis Elimination. She subsequently moved to NYC in order to complete her ID fellowship at Cornell after which she stayed on as faculty at Cornell conducting research in health disparities with a focus on HIV-related treatment outcomes.
Luis Freddy Molano, MD joined the Community Healthcare Network in 1989 and currently serves as Vice President of Infectious Diseases and Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender, Questioning (LGBTQ) Programs. Dr. Molano is a respected voice on HIV issues, presenting at conferences including the US Conference on AIDS, Office of Population Affairs as well as state and city forums. He has also written and published in medical journals like the American Journal of Preventive Medicine and The W-Path (Transgender Health Forum) among others. In addition, he is on the board of the Family Planning Advocates of New York State; a trustee of the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA); sits on the New York City HIV Planning Council – Needs Assessment Committee and has served on the NYS Prevention Planning Group and the NYS AIDS Services Delivery Consortium and is a former member of the International AIDS Society.
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