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HIV/AIDS Disparities Among Racial/Ethnic Groups Focus of Conference

HIV/AIDS Disparities Among Racial/Ethnic Groups Focus of Conference

Reginald (Reggie) attended college for two years before pursuing his dream of becoming a blues musician. His dream came to an abrupt end when the trumpet player accidentally injured his lip.

Then Reggie learned he was HIV positive “after one bad night of drinking with a bad woman.” Homelessness followed. Today, he is trying to make a difference as an outreach volunteer with the Nebraska AIDS Project.

Reggie will be one of the speakers/panelists during a Saturday, April 26, conference on “Addressing Health Disparities: Focus on HIV/AIDS” at Creighton University’s Hixson-Lied Science Building, Room G04. The conference, which begins with registration, 7:30-8:30 a.m., and ends at 5 p.m., is free to the public. 

The Rev. John P. Schlegel, S.J., Creighton University president, and Dr. Cam Enarson, Creighton vice president for health sciences and dean of the School of Medicine, will make opening remarks at the conference.

Delivering the keynote address will be Murray Penner, deputy executive director of domestic programs at the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors. He will speak on “National HIV/AIDS Policies: Helping or Hindering Progress in Eliminating Disparities,” and discuss national efforts to prevent new infections, care and treatment for those infected, and racial and ethnic health disparities in the domestic HIV epidemic. In addition, Penner will highlight efforts at the national level to integrate services for co-morbidities such as sexually transmitted diseases, viral hepatitis, tuberculosis, substance use and mental health.

For more information or to register, call (800) 548-2633 or (402) 280-5659 or visit CME’s website at cme.creighton.edu.

While the number of new HIV infections (the virus that can cause AIDS) reported each year in the United States is down significantly from the 1980s, the number of new cases – about 40,000 a year – has remained level for more than a decade, according to the Centers for Disease Control. That concerns health care providers. Also troubling:

  • Blacks and Latinos account for a disproportionate share of new HIV and AIDS cases, relative to their size in the U.S. population. For example, per 100,000 population, Blacks and Hispanics respectively accounted for approximately 10 times and three times as many new cases of AIDS in 2006 than did Caucasians.
  • The percent of people infected with HIV who don’t know it is approximately 25 percent.

Dr. Sade Kosoko-Lasaki, who along with Dr. Richard O’Brien is program co-director for the conference, said the annual seminar is an opportunity to reach out to the Omaha community and focus on an area of health disparity identified by Healthy People 2010 and the Sullivan Commission on Diversity in the Healthcare Workforce. Kosoko-Lasaki is Creighton associate vice president for health sciences and a professor of surgery, preventive medicine and public health; she is a well publicized author on health issues.

The Creighton conference is sponsored by Creighton’s Continuing Medical Education, Center for Health Policy & Ethics, and Health Sciences - Multicultural and Community Affairs and the Nebraska Aids Project. Lunch will be provided at no cost, and continuing education credits are available for some health professions.