Researchers to refocus public’s attention for World AIDS Day

More people die from HIV/AIDS in a 48-hour period than have died in the entire Ebola epidemic, so far. With 27 million people infected worldwide, HIV/AIDS continues to be the world’s No. 1 killer.

These statistics are part of what drives researchers at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry to invest countless hours in the lab looking for ways to better understand and stop HIV/AIDS from continuing to spread.

“Beginning with the great science and vaccine work that was done by Western Microbiology and Immunology professor Yong Kang, and the molecular research done by Microbiology and Immunology professors Jimmy Dikeakos and Steve Barr, we have become one of the top HIV research teams in the country,” said Eric Arts, Microbiology and Immunology chair and renowned HIV researcher.

On World AIDS Day, these researchers will come together to share their knowledge into the latest breakthroughs in HIV/AIDS research at 1 p.m. Monday, Dec. 1, in Medical Sciences Building 282. Moderated by Dr. Chris Mackie, public health officer for the Middlesex London Health Unit, the panel includes Arts, Barr and Dikeakos, along with Gregor Reid, Microbiology and Immunology and Surgery professor, and Dr. Michael Silverman, chief of infectious diseases at London Health Sciences Centre.

Space is limited for the event. RSVP to before Friday, Nov. 28.

Arts believes coming together to draw attention back to HIV/AIDS on World AIDS Day is an important endeavor, especially because so much attention has been taken away from this epidemic in recent months with the focus on Ebola.

“That’s not to say that Ebola isn’t a devastating disease,” he said. “But it is nowhere even remotely close in scale to HIV. If we look at 13,000 people infected with Ebola, compared with 27 million, it’s not even in the same league.”