September 26, 2010 -- “The Language of Gay Culture” was one of more than two dozen lectures given as part of the HIV and Clinical Trials 101 lecture series this fall. The event, which took place August 23-31, targets new research and clinical staff in the Division of Infectious Diseases and is an update on current practices related to HIV/AIDS.
“Thirty-nine percent of the HIV cases in North Carolina are among [men who have sex with men],” said Christopher Hurt, MD, clinical instructor in the Division of Infectious Diseases. “This is in addition to an estimated 32% of HIV cases in which the patient is not explicit about their sexual orientation.” With this kind of disproportionate burden of HIV, it is critical that staff know how to talk about safe sex and transmission of HIV with men who have sex with men (MSM).
Covering everything from what it means to be “talking” to someone, to the street names of drugs commonly used by MSM, Dr. Hurt’s goal was to help new staff members better understand their MSM patients and their life experiences.
Other topics in the HIV 101 series ranged from the scientific (“HIV resistance and latent reservoirs”) to the procedural (“The history of informed consent and why it's critical”) to the sociological (“The Latino community: culture, beliefs and barriers to care”). The lectures were presented by faculty physicians, nurses, and other staff in the UNC AIDS Clinical Trials Unit (ACTU).
Most of the people attending the lectures had been with UNC for less than a year, but some long-time staff members attended to get the updated information. “Some of the material I had already known, but it’s good to get a refresher, ” said one ACTU research coordinator.
David Currin, RN, has organized the lecture series for the last seven years. “The HIV and Clinical Trials 101 courses were a big success this year,” Currin said. “All of the sessions were very well attended.”
The next HIV and Clinical Trials 101 will be held in late August or early September 2011. Space permitting, it is open to anyone in the UNC School of Medicine.