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Wed 18 Jul, 2012
By Robert Ingham

The Fenway Institute... will sponsor a number of events and have experts available for interview at the XIX International AIDS Conference

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Fenway Institute details presence at AIDS conference

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WASHINGTON, DC - The Fenway Institute at Fenway Health, a leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) health research and advocacy organization, will sponsor a number of events and have experts available for interview at the XIX International AIDS Conference, to be held from July 21-27 in Washington, DC. Fenway’s primary events at the conference will be two satellite presentations: one on the topic of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), and one on creating services for men who have sex with men (MSM) in lower-income countries around the world.

The first, Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention: Maximizing success, will be held on Sunday, July 22 at 1:30 PM.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention has shown efficacy with men who have sex with men (MSM) and heterosexual women and men. US and global regulatory action is expected in 2012. Demonstration projects are underway in the US and soon to launch in Africa. PrEP will be most effective if combined with behavioral interventions and scaled-up HIV testing and treatment to reduce community viral load. A key concern is the cost, and finding the balance between funding prevention and treatment.

Advocates, policymakers, funders, clinicians and researchers will lead an examination of the following: What do we know about PrEP implementation? How will it vary geographically and by population? How do we maximize PrEP’s potential and minimize barriers to implementation? How important is the human rights context? Given the overdue recent focus on most vulnerable populations such as MSM and sex workers, how do we ensure that PrEP doesn't overshadow other prevention approaches?

The satellite is sponsored by amfAR, AVAC, The Fenway Institute, the MSM Global Forum, the Justice Resource Institute, the National Black Gay Men's Advocacy Coalition, Project Inform, and Sister Love.

The second satellite presentation, Health Sector Partnerships: Creating Local Clinical Service Networks for MSM in Diverse Global Settings, will take place on Thursday, July 26 at 6:30 PM.

Men who have sex with men (MSM) have consistently been found to be at elevated risk for adverse health outcomes in both high and low income settings. There is emerging evidence of disproportionate burden of STIs among MSM in many countries with laws criminalizing same-sex practices. There are domestic CBOs serving the needs of MSM in many countries, but who are their domestic allies? We posit that health care providers should be targeted as primary allies and trained on how to work with MSM in order make them feel comfortable to disclose risk behaviors. The satellite session will convene a variety of health professionals, policy makers, program staff, funders, and researchers with experience in implementing and evaluating a variety of health sector interventions in differing contexts. Presentations will include groups focused on improving access to health care for MSM. Moderated discussion will allow participants to share their experiences in working with their health care systems.

This satellite is sponsored by Research 2 Prevention (R2P), Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, and The Fenway Institute at Fenway Health.

Additional information about the satellite conferences, including a full list of speakers, is available here:

Further events sponsored by Fenway include an XIX International AIDS Conference Reception, to be held from 6 PM to 8 PM on July 22 at the National Press Club. In addition, a wide range of abstracts will be presented by Fenway researchers throughout the conference, and Fenway Medical Research Director and Co-Chair Kenneth H. Mayer will be participating in multiple additional press conferences and symposia. This includes an HIV Medical Association (HIVMA) press conference, to be held July 25 at 1 PM in Press Room 2.

In particular, Mayer, along with Associate Director for Community Engagement Ben Perkins, worked with the Multicultural AIDS Coalition (MAC) on HPTN 061, known as Saving OurSelves (SOS), a comprehensive study of Black MSM in the US. FHI 360 will present these findings for the first time at a 2 PM press conference on July 23.

In another event of note, The Fenway Institute is collaborating with the National Black Gay Men’s Advocacy Coalition (NBGMAC) and the National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) on the latter organizations’ Leadership Institute on Biomedical Prevention for Black Gay and Bisexual Men. Perkins will host the event, to be held on Thursday, July 26 at George Washington University.

For further information about these events, contact Cathy Renna. All events will be at the Washington Convention Center unless otherwise noted.

Fenway staff available for interviews over the course of the conference include:

● Stephen L. Boswell, MD, President & CEO, Fenway Health and Senior Research Scientist, The Fenway Institute The former head of HIV Clinical Services at Massachusetts General Hospital, he joined Fenway in 1994. While at Fenway, Boswell served as Medical Director prior to assuming his current role in 1997. He can speak to:

○ the history of The Fenway Institute’s work on HIV/AIDS

● Kenneth H. Mayer, MD. Medical Research Director and Co-Chair, The Fenway Institute Kenneth Mayer’s clinical research career has focused on the natural history and transmission of HIV in the US and in Asia, having developed some of the very first cohort studies and prevention interventions dealing with the prevalence of HIV among men who had sex with men in the early 1980’s. As the founding Medical Research Director of Fenway Health, Mayer created a community health research program that has developed an international reputation for its capability to conduct community-based peer reviewed research. Mayer can speak to:

○ The Fenway Institute’s current research to be presented at the IAC, on subjects including HIV transmission amongst black men who have sex with men (MSM) and the impact of Highly Active Antiviral Retrotherapy (HAART) (Note: Due to embargoes, Mayer will be free to speak about these subjects after July 23).

● Judith B. Bradford, PhD, Director of the Center for Population Research in LGBT Health and Co-Chair, The Fenway Institute
Judy Bradford is Director of the Center for Population Research in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Health at The Fenway Institute, and co-chairs The Fenway Institute with Kenneth Mayer, MD, developing it as a national model for integrating research, education and training, and health policy/advocacy within a community health center. She can speak to:

○ The diverse demographics of the LGBT population and its impact on HIV/AIDS

○ HIV/AIDS components of the government’s Healthy People 2020 initiative'

● Harvey J. Makadon, MD, Director of the National LGBT Health Education Center and Director of Professional Training and Education, The Fenway Institute.
Makadon served on the Committee on LGBT Health Issues and Research Gaps and Opportunities for the Institute of Medicine’s report: The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People: Building a Foundation for Better Understanding, 2011. In recent years, he has worked on strategic planning with a wide range of health care organizations and has worked to improve relationships between hospitals and community health centers to strengthen the continuum of care, and has worked on helping organizations develop patient centered medical homes. He can speak to:

○ How health care facilities can work to the benefit of those with HIV/AIDS

● Sean Cahill, PhD, Director of Health Policy Research, The Fenway Institute.
Prior to joining The Fenway Institute, Cahill served as the Managing Director of Public Policy, Research and Community Health at GMHC (2007 – 2011) and was the Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute before that (2001 – 2007). His work has included advocating for a national AIDS strategy, working to defund abstinence-only-until-marriage sex education programs, repealing the federal funds ban on needle exchange programs, and repealing the United States’ HIV entry ban. Cahill’s areas of expertise include:

○ LGBT health policy

○ HIV policy

○ LGBT and HIV+ elders

● Benjamin D Perkins, MA, MDiv, Associate Director for Community Engagement, The Fenway Institute.
Benjamin Perkins is the Associate Director for Community Engagement at The Fenway Institute at Fenway Health, where he oversees the agency’s the community engagement, education and clinical trials recruitment efforts. He has also served as project director of the federally funded HIV-prevention feasibility study for The BROTHERS Project (locally named “Project SOS [Saving OurSelves]”), also at The Fenway Institute. Perkins can speak to:

○ the new findings on HIV among Black MSM (beginning July 23, due to embargoes on the data).

● Rodney VanDerwarker, MPH
Vice-President, Fenway Health and Administrative Director, The Fenway Institute.
Rodney VanDerwarker joined Fenway Health in 1997 and coordinated the Explore study, a multi-site randomized controlled trial of a behavioral intervention to help prevent HIV transmission among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men. In 2002, he was named Administrative Director of The Fenway Institute, Fenway Health’s division focused on research, education and health advocacy. In this role, he has worked closely with Fenway faculty on the design and implementation of research studies and professional development programs in HIV/AIDS and LGBT health.

○ History and future directions for The Fenway Institute

○ International collaboration activities and capacity

About the Fenway Institute

The Fenway Institute at Fenway Health works to make life healthier for those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT), people living with HIV/AIDS, and the larger community. We do this through research and evaluation, education and training, and public health advocacy. For more information, go to:


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