BRIGHT Academy @ New York Academy of Sciences

BRIGHT Academy @ New York Academy of Sciences

Coinciding with the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, United Nations Joints Programme for HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) held a meeting at New York Academy of Science to highlight recent advances and point out areas for synergy and collaboration with UNAIDS in three areas:
(1) cervical cancer,
(2) hormonal contraception,
(3) female genital schistosomiasis (FGS).

These three issues are currently not part of any HIV programme. Female Genital Schistosomiasis (Bilharzia, FGS) is a neglected tropical disease affecting approximately 55 million adolescent girls and women. Treatment for Bilharzia may reduce the risk of HIV infection, so there are opportunities for collaboration between HIV programmes and Bilharzia Control Programmes. HIV and FGS are “converging epidemics” which suffer from “lack of attention and lack of investment” said Professor Terry McGovern

Similarly, in HIV prevention programmes there are possibilities to screen and prevent cervical cancer in women living with HIV. They are more likely to be infected with human papillomavirus (HPV), and up to 5 times more likely to develop both early and invasive cancers caused by HPV. Furthermore, a large randomised trial is underway and women and National HIV programmes are discussing the difficult choices that need to be made if the trial confirms certain types of contraceptives increase the risk for HIV.

Organising committee:
UNAIDS: Peter Godfrey-Faussett and Celeste Sandoval,
WHO: Shona Dalal,
CDC: Pragna Patel,
NYAS: Sonya Dougal

Annah Sango, Zimbabwe Young Positives
Chelsea Polis, PhD, The Guttmacher Institute
Danielle Engel, MA, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
Ebony Johnson, MHS, Global Coalition on Women and AIDS, Athena Network
Erna Milunka Kojic, MD, Mount Sinai St Luke’s, Mount Sinai West, US
Eyrun Kjetland, MD, PhD, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa/Oslo University Hospital, Norway
Jennifer Downs, MD, PhD, Weill Cornell Medical College, US
Mary Rose Giattis, MD, JHPIEGO, Tanzania
Nelly Rwamba Mugo, MD, Kenya Medical Research Institute, Kenya
Pragna Patel, MD, MPH, US CDC, US
Sharon Achilles, MD, PhD, University of Pittsburgh, US
Terry McGovern, JD, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, US
Vikrant Sahasrabuddhe, MBBS, MPH, DrPH, National Cancer Institute, NIH, US

FGS scientists in cold New York: Associate Professor Jennifer Downs (University of Emory), Professor Eyrun Kjetland (UKZN/BRIGHT Academy/Oslo University Hospital), Dr Pragna Patel (CDC, Atlanta, US), Dr Erna Milunka Kojic