WHAT: The Pitt Men’s Study and the University of Pittsburgh will host their annual World AIDS Day event to honor those who lost their lives to HIV/AIDS. The virtual program will discuss living with HIV/AIDS during the COVID-19 pandemic and social justice movements including Black Lives Matter.
The event will also include the “Circle of Love,” a tradition at the World AIDS Day ceremony. Names of people who passed due to HIV/AIDS will be read aloud. The public can submit names through a form on the Pitt Men’s Study website.
The Pitt Men’s Study is a confidential research study of the natural history of HIV/AIDS. The program follows a group of approximately 3,000 men to study the pathology of HIV. The National Institutes of Health provides funding for the program. The study is now part of the newly formed Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS) and Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) combined cohorts – the MACS/WIHS Combined Cohort Study (MWCCS). The MWCCS is a collaborative research effort that aims to understand and reduce the impact of chronic health conditions that affect people living with HIV including heart, lung, blood, and sleep disorders.
WHY: World AIDS Day is a globally recognized day of remembrance and action. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevent, in 2018 over 37,000 people were diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in the United States. The COVID-19 pandemic has posed unique challenges to people living with HIV/AIDS.
“The gay community is living with two pandemics, HIV and COVID-19,” said Charles Rinaldo, Ph.D., principal investigator of the Pitt Men’s Study and professor of infectious diseases and microbiology at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. “The men who participate in the Pitt Men’s Study are the heart of the program. The World AIDS Day event is a way to recognize the community that is helping in the fight against these pandemics.”
Marc Wagner, a member of the Pitt Men’s Study Community Board, is also participating in a COVID-19 vaccine trial. “When I had the opportunity to participate in a COVID-19 vaccine trial, I knew I had to take it,” Wagner said. “Just like during the peak of the AIDS epidemic, I wanted to help any way I could.”
• Charles Rinaldo, Ph.D., principal investigator of the Pitt Men’s Study, professor of infectious diseases and microbiology at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health
• Marc Wagner, Pitt Men’s Study Community Board Member
WHEN: 7 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 1.
WHERE: The virtual event is open to the public. To attend, visit www.pittmensstudy.com.
Note to media: To cover this event, contact Sarah Katz at 412-312-1042 or KatzSB@upmc.edu.