University of Pittsburgh Researchers Hope to Get More Blacks in AIDS Study
PITTSBURGH As part of a national effort to get more Black men into AIDS studies, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh are recruiting more participants for the first time in a decade. The National Institutes of Health is funding an effort to get more Black men into its Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study, which the Pitt Men’s Study is involved in. Similar studies are being conducted in Baltimore, Chicago and Los Angeles. The project has examined HIV infection and treatment in men for almost 20 years.In Pittsburgh, the number of participants could grow to 900 men, and researchers hope that one out of every four new recruits is Black. “Until recently, AIDS was considered a White man’s disease, so there was little interest on the part of African Americans in participating in a research study devoted to it,” says Anthony Silvestre, recruitment coordinator for the Pitt Men’s Study. Researchers have struggled to make the study group more representative of the county’s population. About 8 percent of the 450 men in the Pittsburgh study are Black, compared with 12 percent of Allegheny County’s population. Of the estimated seven U.S. citizens infected with HIV each hour, three are Black, said Charles Rinaldo, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health. “We’ve got to get that message out,” he says. “This is a profound problem.”
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