December 12, 2002
MEDIA CONTACT: John Lazarou
Johns Hopkins' Urban Health Institute to Initiate New HIV/AIDS Testing Program
Innovative Program To Combat Spread of HIV/AIDS in East Baltimore
The Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute, the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine's Division of Infectious Diseases and The Men's and Rose Street Community Centers have created a joint HIV/AIDS testing program in East Baltimore. The project is believed to be one of the first in the region to forge an anti-AIDS partnership among a medical center, businesses and the community.
Claude Earl Fox, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute, says the agreement could be a model for similar programs across the country. "Individuals who test positive will get help in scheduling follow-up appointments and will be supported through the entire process," Fox said. "Entering the medical system can be confusing and intimidating, so follow up will take priority."
The Men's Center, at 2222 East Jefferson Street, is the launch site for the program, to be followed by a testing site at the Rose Street Community Center, 821 North Rose Street, in early 2003. Initially, both centers will be staffed by student volunteers, state trained and certified in HIV/AIDS testing and counseling from the Hopkins' schools of Medicine and Nursing. The program's long-range plan is to have members of the community trained and certified to provide and sustain the service.
"Both the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have advocated the broad expansion of existing counseling and testing program sites throughout the country," said John G. Bartlett, M.D., head of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. "The CDC estimates that 250,000 of the approximately 900,000 people in the U.S. living with HIV infection are unaware of their infection. We hope that this program's efforts to detect this disease in the earliest and most treatable stage can play a major role in our nation's fight to increase awareness and get people tested."
Abbott Laboratories is supporting the program with a new, rapid HIV/AIDS test kit and a financial donation, while Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals is providing additional monetary support.
"We are strongly committed to the development and success of this program, which I believe is the first of its kind in our nation," said Roland Daniels, program coordinator for the Urban Health Institute's HIV/AIDS Counseling and Testing Services and manager for community programs in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. "We envision a major part of this program's work to act as a conduit between the East Baltimore community and the myriad research programs and community health benefits offered by Johns Hopkins University."