Experts: World AIDS Day | December 1  

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Published: 1Dec2022
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World AIDS Day brings together people from around the world to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and demonstrate international solidarity in the face of the pandemic. The day is an opportunity for public and private partners to spread awareness about the status of the pandemic and encourage progress in HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, and care around the world. (WHO

Here are some experts from McGill University that can provide comment on this issue: 

Marie-Josée Brouillette, Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry and co-lead on a project about HIV and aging 

“Thanks to the participation of over 800 persons living with HIV who have taken the time to complete questionnaires over the past few years, we have been able to identify ways to improve brain health and quality of life. We are now working with our community partners to ensure that this knowledge is made available to those who could benefit from it.” 

Marie-Josée Brouillette is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry whose primary area of interest is the psychiatric care of medically ill patients, more specifically those infected with HIV.  Action for Positive Brain Health Now, is a project about HIV and aging that was created almost 10 years ago, at 5 sites across Canada to understand brain health challenges in people aging with HIV.  

marie-josee.brouillette [at] mcgill.ca (French) 

Lesley Fellows, Full Professor, Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery and co-lead on a project about HIV and aging 

“People aging with HIV usually have good control of the viral infection but accumulate health challenges related to the infection and face stigma that accompanies their HIV status. They are pioneers: the people who have lived the longest with HIV, ever, so no one knows what to expect. We have good news: the cognitive issues that were the big concern when we started our project are stable over time in most people. We found that there are many factors that contribute to brain health: risk factors that we could do something about, such as social adversity, stigma, co-morbid physical and mental health conditions, cigarette smoking, etc. There are also resilience factors such as strong social networks, meaning in life, education, and so on. We also tested different strategies for improving brain health, discovering that cognitive rehabilitation offers promise.” 

Lesley Fellows is a neurologist specializing in disorders of cognition in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery. Her research focuses on the functions of the brain's frontal lobes and the brain basis of decision making in humans, using the tools of cognitive neuroscience. Action for Positive Brain Health Now, is a project about HIV and aging that was created almost 10 years ago, at 5 sites across Canada to understand brain health challenges in people aging with HIV. 

lesley.fellows [at] mcgill.ca (English) 

Salome Kuchukhidze, PhD candidate, Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health 

“Preventing intimate partner violence is inherently important, but its elimination could also be crucial to ending HIV/AIDS.” 

Salome Kuchukhidze is a PhD candidate in the Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health. Her research centers on HIV testing services and diagnosis coverage among key populations.  

salome.kuchukhidze [at] mail.mcgill.ca (English) 

Mathieu Maheu-Giroux, Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health 

“The large overlap between intimate partner violence and HIV calls for urgent attention by governments, societies, and communities if we are to put an end to gender-based violence and curtail new HIV infections.” 

Mathieu Maheu-Giroux is a public health researcher in the Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health with research interests spanning population health, epidemiology, and infectious diseases. His recent work has focused on impact evaluations of public health interventions, measurements and disease burden assessments, and behavioural interventions to control infectious diseases. 

mathieu.maheu-giroux [at] mcgill.ca (English, French) 

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