Many Health Issues, Including HIV/AIDS, To Be Discussed At Local Symposium

Aug 27, 2012

The rising rates of infection of HIV/AIDS in the Pittsburgh area will be one of the main topics discussed Tuesday at a symposium in Oakland hosted by Educating Teens about HIV/AIDS, Inc (ETAH).

"Achieving Health Equity for Minority Boys & Young Men": Focus on Boys & Young Men Symposium, Part II” will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. August 28 in the University Club in Pittsburgh.

The symposium is designed to develop a comprehensive approach to assist 14-29 year old minority males in the region to find paths to safe and productive lives.

Even though the symposium will be dealing with many issues, Kezia Ellison (Founder of ETAH), said one of the main discussion points will be about HIV/AIDS and how the local rates in Allegheny County follow the national statistics. “This is, of course, something of particular concern, and something that Doctor (Donald) Alcendor (an HIV/AIDS researcher), will most definitely address and highlight. We know that it is not only a concern nationwide, but in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, the infection rates have been increasing and this is something that definitely needs to be addressed,” said  Ellison.

The disparity lies in the fact that children are much healthier than adolescents, especially minorities.  “Young men in our minority communities have worse health conditions in general than their white counterparts,” said Ellison. “Minority children, they are the brunt of the burden for things such as asthma, increasing rates of diabetes, injuries from violence; as we get older, of course, different issues of cardiovascular health and prostate cancer.”

Ellison wants to connect youth with concerned adults who are experts in a variety of areas. “Role models come in all shapes and forms, and often times, people might be intimidated by title; but this is a time when we select people who are truly concerned about young adults.”

Speakers at the event include: Waverly Duck, assistant professor of sociology at Pitt; Donald Alcendor, assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology of the Meharry Medical College’s Center for AIDS Health Disparities Research; and Jay Blackwell, director of the Capacity Development Team in the Office of Minority Health of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.