On World AIDS Day, Learn About Pitt’s Work and Impact

A person in a gray sweater holding a red ribbon in two handsPitt and Pittsburgh have long fought HIV and AIDS.

One of the many efforts at the University of Pittsburgh is the Pitt Men’s Study, which last year celebrated a milestone: 40 years of studying the disease.

Today, Dec. 1, the Men’s Study and the University will again participate in World AIDS Day, hosting a virtual program at 7 p.m. The program will discuss living with HIV and AIDS during the COVID-19 pandemic and social justice movements including Black Lives Matter. 

“The gay community is living with two pandemics, HIV and COVID-19,” said Charles Rinaldo, 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.”

In addition to learning more about the Pitt Men’s Study through tonight’s event, learn more about Pitt’s efforts to conquer the disease through a selection of previous stories on those endeavors:

  • This fall, a study led by John Mellors of the Graduate School of Public Health found that “repliclones”—large clones of HIV-infected cells that produce infectious virus particles—are to blame for the virus still showing up in patients with HIV who take medication. Mellors is professor of medicine and of infectious diseases and microbiology; chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and Endowed Chair, Global Elimination of HIV and AIDS.
  • In 2019, Jariatu Stallone, a second-year biology pre-med student at Pitt-Bradford, was awarded a Pedro Zamora Young Leaders Scholarship from the National AIDS Memorial. She was recognized for her work to combat stigma and provide HIV and AIDS education in her native Sierra Leone during the Ebola epidemic, which severely impacted the country’s healthcare workforce.
  • In the early 1990s, many pediatricians thought children whose symptoms pointed to HIV lacked the emotional maturity and resilience to cope with a fatal diagnosis—so they opted not to even test for the disease. But School of Medicine alumnus Bret Rudy (MED ’85), thought otherwise. As a fellow in pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania, he launched a dedicated clinic at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2019.
  • In 2017, Pitt Med magazine featured a story on AIDS Free Pittsburgh, which launched in late 2015, when UPMC and Allegheny Health Network (AHN) pledged a combined $1.5 million to end the epidemic in the region. A similar global partnership involving the United Nations, called Fast-Track Cities, focuses on eradicating AIDS in certain major metropolises worldwide by 2030. Organizers said they believed Pittsburgh could serve as a proof of concept for Rust Belt and Midwestern cities.
  • Also in 2017, the magazine reported on the work of a team of Pitt School of Medicine researchers hunting down latent HIV.