Scientific Program

Day 1 :

Biography:

John Howard has completed his PhD in Biochemistry at the University of California at Riverside. He went on to establish and lead a biotechnology group at two Fortune 500 companies and later founded a start-up biotechnology company. For the past 10+ years, he has been the President of ABI, a biotechnology company focused on developing novel products for human and animal health products. He is the author or inventor of more than 150 papers.

Abstract:

An orally delivered and heat-stable subunit vaccine can eliminate the cold chain, needles and skilled personnel to deliver the injections. This can lead to a low-cost, convenient method of immunization with higher compliance and a reduction, if not elimination, of disease. Many approaches have shown proof-of-principle yet an oral vaccine has remained an elusive goal due to many practical problems that hamper commercialization. These include a subpar immune response, the need for high levels of antigen to overcome the natural digestion process and the inability to scale-up and stockpile antigens due to instability at ambient temperatures. We have developed a platform that can overcome these barriers by first accumulating the antigen in maize grain orders-of-magnitude higher than reported in other systems. Next, novel methods for processing using a supercritical fluid extractor (SFE) further enhanced the immune response and impart greater heat stability. The resultant material is then formulated into tablets with a precise dosage suitable for oral delivery. Using hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) as the lead candidate, a robust immune response has been demonstrated in sera as well as tissues that do not respond to the parenterally administered antigen. This includes mucosal tissues that can be the first line of defense for many diseases. This includes a strong mucosal response observed in the urogenital tissues which may provide greater protection for sexually transmitted pathogens. In addition to the lead candidate, other vaccine candidates will be discussed that demonstrate the breadth of the platform including the potential to use this technology for HIV/AIDS. This provides a new tool for increased efficacy, lower cost, cold chain-independence and a more convenient vaccine.

Keynote Forum

Tesfaye Belay

Bluefield State College, USA

Keynote: Cold-induced stress and chlamydia genital infection on a mouse model

Time :

Biography:

Dr. Tesfaye Belay is currently a professor of biology at Bluefield State College (BSC), WV. He earned a Bachelor of Science in biology from Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia and Masters of Science in microbiology and PhD in botany and plant pathology from Michigan State University. Before joining BSC in 2005, he served as postdoc at Georgia State University, Morehouse School of Medicine, Clark University and an adjunct instructor of biology at Morehouse Collegeand Spelman College.He has authored and co-authored 27 articles that have appeared in many peer-reviewed scientific journals. He has trained more than 50 undergraduate students in basic biomedical research that have presented their research findings at both local and national meetings. He has won several awards including outstanding researcher award from all Thurgood Marshall Member institutions throughout the nation 2009, faculty of the year at BSC in 2015. Dr. Belay is a member of the American Society for Gravitational and Space Research, American Society for Microbiology, and the Association of American Immunologists.

Abstract:

Genital infection by Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) is the most common bacterial sexually transmitted disease worldwide. The infection can cause serious reproductive health complications including pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility. Stress is considered as a risk factor for various infections, however, its effect on chlamydia genital infection remains unknown. In this study, exposure of mice to cold water for five minutes every day for 24 days resulted in a greater intensity of Chlamydia muridarum genital infection and a high rate of infertility. Coldinduced stress was associated with decreased mRNA and protein levels of major cytokines and chemokines in the spleen and genital tract but with increased noradrenaline (NE) and adrenaline levels. Furthermore, supplement of NE in vitro exerted an immunosuppressive effect on splenic T-cell production of cytokines, but a decreased C. muridarum shedding in the genital tract of β1Adr/β2Adr receptor knockout mice. These results suggest that coldinduced stress induces the production of catecholamines, which may play a critical role in the modulation of the immune system leading to increased susceptibility and greater intensity of Chlamydia genital infection that could promote the development of complications including Chlamydia-induced infertility in mice.

Biography:

Helieh S Oz has DVM, MS (U IL); PhD (U MN) and clinical translational research certificate (UK Med Center). She is an active member of American Association of Gastroenterology (AGA) and AGA Fellow (AGAF). She is a Microbiologist with expertise in infectious and inflammatory diseases, drug discoveries, pathogenesis, innate/mucosal immunity, molecular biology, and micronutrient. She has over 90 publications in areas of chronic inflammatory disorders (e.g. pancreatitis, hepatitis, colitis), and infectious diseases (e.g., Toxoplasmosis, Trypanosomasis, Babesiosis, Pneumocystis pneumonia). She has served as Lead Editor for special issues, gut inflammatory, infectious diseases and nutrition (Mediators Inflammation 2017); nutrients, infectious/inflammatory diseases (Nutrients2017); Gastrointestinal inflammation and repair: Role of microbiome, infection, nutrition (Gastroenterology Research Practice 2016), and Co-Editor for parasitic infections in pediatric clinical practice (J. Pediatric Infectious Disease) and Member of Editorial Board and avid reviewer for several peer-reviewed journals.

Abstract:

Chagas disease burdens millions of people in Latin America (22% congenital) and threatens those in Southern States and California as an emerging disease in USA Trypanosoma Cruzi (T. Cruzi) is important cause of gastrointestinal and cardiovascular disease. It is transmitted by Triatoma vector, congenital and sexual or via blood transfusion. Acute infectious inflammatory disease is accompanied by a chronic asymptomatic stage; however, 20% to 40% of infected individuals ultimately develop chronic cardiomyopathy and megacolon due to immunosuppression or aging. Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports Chagas as a hidden public health risk with over 300,000 people living in U.S.A borders (>30,000 in Los Angeles) to be infected with T. cruzi. Amongst 2000 cardiac surgeries in Houston, TX 0.05% cases and 2.7% of Hispanic patients were found to be infected mostly due to contaminated blood transfusion. In Brazil about 5% of HIV patients had a coinfection with T. Cruzi. Chagas coinfection in AIDS/HIV patients manifests as central nervous system involvement which is detected mostly after death. Toxoplasmosis is another opportunistic organism with an estimated 1.5 billion people globally predicted to be infected. Toxoplasmosis is one of the most important congenital disorders, inflammatory syndromes as well as foodborne illnesses and hospitalization. Toxoplasma is transmitted by contaminated food and animal products (cysts form), water, fruits, vegetables (oocysts), maternally or sexually acquired through semen (tachyzoites). Toxoplasmosis is also a neglected disease of poverty and prominent in rural areas. Similar to T. Cruzi, Toxoplasma causes a complex immune-inflammatory reaction in vital organs with the surge of chemokines and cytokines. Subsequent acute phase, the organisms lodge in cyst forms predominantly in muscles and CNS awaiting reactivation due to immunosuppression or AIDS/HIV. Toxoplasma infects all nucleated cells with a specific tropism for central nervous system and a mind altering, psycho-behavior and fatal attraction. Toxoplasma impairs neurons responsible for instinct defensive and judgment behaviors adjacent to limbic regions of sexual desire. Pregnant mom with newly acquired acute or reactivated toxoplasmosis transmits organism via placenta to her fetus with grave life threatening consequences. Current available therapies are inefficient or have severe side effects in congenital and chronic toxoplasmosis. There is an urgent need for safe and effective therapeutic modalities against toxoplasmosis as well as possible effective vaccines to eliminate the infectious agents in definitive host. This presentation will include some of the speaker’s investigations in the field as well as transmission, immunomodulation, and pathogenesis of Chagas and toxoplasmosis; to discuss current available treatments in practice, and to explore experimental therapies for potential future clinical trials.

  • Sexually Transmitted Disease | HIV in women | HIV & aging | HIV/AIDS Drug Discovery and Research | Parasitic Infections
Location: Hilton San Antonio Airport

Session Introduction

Lorece Edwards

Morgan State University, USA

Title: None of us will get out of here alive: The intersections of HIV awareness, risk perceptions, and behavior risk
Speaker
Biography:

Lorece V Edwards is currently the Director of the Center for Sexual Health Advancement and Prevention Education (SHAPE) and Associate Professor in the Department of Behavioral Health Sciences at Morgan State University, School of Community Health and Policy, USA. She has published several papers on HIV primary prevention and prevention interventions.

Abstract:

The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) significantly impacts minority emerging adults, among whom the rate of new diagnoses is high and health disparities are more pronounced. Unfortunately, the new emerging adults of today have limited knowledge of the earlier toll of the HIV when it was identified as a killer sexually transmitted disease. Among this population, perceptions of risk for HIV are low and sexual risk taking behaviors are high. HIV risk perception has been shown to be significantly related to prior HIV testing behavior; however, current knowledge of determinants related to HIV risk perceptions among college students has been limited. The Get SMART Project is a behavioral HIV intervention aimed to increase the awareness of HIV, provide re-purposed HIV and substance abuse prevention education as well as HIV testing to African American emerging adults ages 18-24. The project was guided by the Transtheoretical and socio-ecological models as well as a creative blend social networking, social media, social marketing, Fine Arts and community-based theater. 365 emerging adults participated in population-based surveys and eight focus groups were conducted with approximately 57 participants. Findings revealed that HIV testing is lowand behavioral health risks are escalated. Gaps in knowledge were reveals, especially regarding sex and gender differences in HIV acquisition. Emerging adults did not see themselves at risk for HIV. Specific risk priorities were identified and survival
expectations influence risk behaviors.

Niklas Beschorner

Heinrich Pette Institute, Germany

Title: Eradication of HIV-1 by genome editing
Speaker
Biography:

Niklas Beschorner has studied Biotechnology at University of Applied Science OOW in Emden. He finished his PhD at the University of Hamburg in the group of Professor Hauber at the Heinrich Pette Institute – Leibniz Institute for Experimental Virology, where he is currently perusing his Post-doctoral studies.

Abstract:

Current combination antiretroviral therapies (cART) efficiently suppress HIV1 reproduction in infected humans. However, cART does not eradicate HIV-1 from the body, necessitating lifelong medication. Therefore, intervention at additional critical steps of the virus life cycle might be indispensable to ultimately achieve an HIV cure. Clearly, the most direct approach to eradicating HIV-1 is the physical removal of the integrated provirus from infected cells. The recent development of technologies for genome editing may possibly soon allow therapeutic targeting of HIV proviral genomes. Designer nucleases (e.g. CRISPR/Cas9) or engineered recombinases (e.g. tyrosine-type site-specific recombinases) have been shown to efficiently inhibit HIV-1 in tissue culture or in animal models (e.g. humanized mice). However, detailed investigation of these different antiviral genome editing approaches also revealed various undesired effects, in particular the problem of frequent and accelerated viral escape. In this work we have briefly discuss the pros and cons of current antiviral genome editing approaches and present experimental data in inactivation/excision of HIV proviral DNA in various model systems, including primary HIV patient-derived CD4+ T lymphocytes.

Solomon Nfor

St. Philip’s College, USA

Title: Civic engagement learning model to educate on HIV/AIDS at an HBCU/HSI college
Speaker
Biography:

Solomon Nfor has completed his PhD in Higher Education and Administration from University of the Incarnate Word and two Master’s degrees in Biotechnology from University of Texas at San Antonio and in Zoology from University of Buea. He is also a Nurse and a Medical Laboratory Technologist. He is the Founder and Coordinator of St. Philip’s College Jessica’s Project, a civic engagement organization geared at educating students on current diseases.

Abstract:

Jessica’s project is a non-profit organization affiliated with the St. Philip’s College in San Antonio, Texas. It is a civic engagement project that brings faculty, staff and students together to impact change on various topics including education about diseases associated with diet, teenage and unplanned pregnancy, the operation of community gardens and hunger banquets. I will like to present at this conference, high impact practices in teaching and learning using civic engagement, how to develop research interest in science students on the topic of HIV/AIDS and getting students involved in demystifying notions about HIV/AIDS patients or the disease. Because of their low-income status, many east side citizens resigned on healthy lifestyle as it being associated with the rich and affluent; a notion we are intent to erase by the special collaborative program engineered by our team at St. Philip’s College, encourage healthy eating habits through lunch and learn workshops at the garden or various nutrition programs hosted by the churches, educate the community on HIV/AIDS and related diseases through active research by students and poster presentation, encourage a culture of health in HIV/AIDS population and increase routine medical checkups for adult and teenagers by hosting wellness week on campus with free medical checkup. This training presentation will give the participant an opportunity to design a community-based project.

Biography:

Abstract:

Nutritional problems among people living with HIV are common in developing countries. They are current in more of those countries yet, however, nutritional deficits exacerbate the immunosuppression that accentuates the under-nutrition, then accelerating the evolution of the infection. And this needs scientists’ attention. In Sub-Saharan Africa, people living with HIV and their feeding habits are little described. Our study aimed to assess food consumption among people living with HIV in a district hospital of Burkina Faso. A cross sectional quantitative study was conducted in Bobo-Dioulasso in the district hospital of Do, during June and July 2014. It concerned infected adults, aged 18 and above. Clinical state of HIV infection with digestives symptoms existing, nutritional status based on body mass index (BMI) by using the WHO classification and consumption by food frequency questionnaire were assessed. We added questions about information and knowledge on feeding. The different food group distribution was classified following common groups. A sample of 124 subjects was interviewed. Most them were women (75.8% being female). The average age of participants was 39.0±8.7 years. These patients lived in urban areas (77.4% of cases) and 23.4% had no level in education. About the infection, it was noted HIV-1 in 89.5% of cases, HIV-2 in 4.8% of cases and HIV-1 and 2 in 5.7% of cases. They took ARV treatment in 96.8% of the cases. The most found clinical symptoms are oral lesions (12.9%), anorexia (12.1%) and stomach-ache (11.3%). About 18.5% of the participants were underweighted and 77.4% could have three daily meals. Current food consumption consisted of cereals flour pasta 40.3%, bread 33.9% and rice 33.1%, vegetables prepared in a sauce and a few fruits then the most consumed daily are mangoes, lemon and oranges, 74.2% of oils and fats, sugars 61.3%, meat 33.1%, fish 19.4%, and 13.7% of milk. Running water was used as a drink at 80.7% of the individuals. Uninformed respondents on food importance reached 35.5%. In the studied population, the food energy sources consumption is usual, while those food sources of micronutrients are low. The main likely causes of this imbalance are difficulty to access certain foods and lack of information. Nutritional educational programs should be developed to control HIV.

Biography:

Dr. Tischendorf holds a BS degree in Zoology from Ohio University and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences(DVM) degree from Colorado State University. He serves as a regional veterinarian with Merck and is based in the Houston area. His special interests include emerging and zoonotic diseases, anesthesiology, dermatology and animal creulty forensics and investigations. Prior to becoming a DVM he worked as an endangered species biologist and widland firefighter. In his free time he trains natural resource professionals on wildlife tracking and immobilization. He is former Marine and has lived in roughly 15 states over the course of his carrers..

Abstract:

Parasites commonly infect and can debilitate or kill animals, including our pets. Many common parasites are also zoonotic, exemplifying the One Health concept. Parasite prevention is thus critical in pets, as is awareness of the risks these organisms pose to individuals and public health. This presentation will highlight several especially important zoonotic pet parasites and provide information on preventative strategies to minimize
exposure and risk.

Amna Al Otaiba

University of Essex, UK

Title: Direct testing for Acanthamoeba in UAE Water
Biography:

Amna Al Otaiba is a PhD student under supervision of Selwa Alsam at the School of Biological Sciences, University of Essex. She has published about 8 articles in refereed journals serving as Director of Environment Department at Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort in UAE. She has 17 years of experience in the field of Environment and attended many international scientific conferences.

Abstract:

Acanthamoeba is a microscopic free-living ameba characterized as single-celled living organism that can cause rare but severe infections of the eye, skin, and central nervous system. Acanthamoeba is found worldwide in the environment in water and soil. Acanthamoeba can be spread to the eyes through contact lens use, cuts, or skin wounds or by being inhaled into the lungs. The double-layered coat of Acanthamoeba cyst enables it to survive in the presence of disinfectants. It can also tolerate wide range of temperature from −2°C to 45°C. A variety of microorganism, such as Escherichia coli (E.coli) nest inside Acanthamoeba in the form of endosymbiont as amoeba-associated bacteria. In the United Arab Emirates(UAE) Acanthamoeba and associated endosymbiont bacteria are not yet studied, hence this study in which variety of water samples were tested for the presence of Acanthamoeba. 55 water samples were tested for Acanthamoeba presence. Water samples were filtered through 0.25 micrometer nitrocellulose membranes. Filters were incubated for 2 to three weeks at 30oC using non-nutrient agar petri plates enriched with heat killed E. coli. Plates were examined microscopically for existence of Acanthamoeba tracks. Acanthamoeba were removed from the surface and propagated axenically using Peptone Yeast Glucose (PYG) medium. Cysts and trophozoites were characterized by morphology, PCR, Nested PCR, and ELISA techniques. In PCR and Nested PCR, DNA was extracted and amplified using the primers JDP1 and JDP2. Results from traditional PCR requires prolonged period of time. Nested PCR was used in which the primers JDP1 and P3rev were used and the product of this amplification was amplified once again using the P2fw and JDP2. Results indicated existence of Acanthamoeba. For further identification ELISA technics was utilized in which a flat bottom 96 wells polystyrene plates was incubated with (rat anti Acanthamoeba polyclonal antibodies) for 1 hour at room temperature using carbonate/bicarbonate buffer. Followed by washing with PBS buffer and incubating with Acanthamoeba PBS suspension of 1000 cells/ml followed by another washing and incubation with the second antibody anti-mouse IGG peroxidase for one hour at room temperature. Peroxidase substrate with colorimetric chromagen were added and incubated for 30 minutes. Reaction was stopped by adding 3N HCl and read by ELISA reader. ELISA results confirmed with great confidence the presence of Acanthamoeba in water. Results indicated that ELISA technic can be utilized with great accuracy to detect directly the presence of Acanthamoeba in water samples.

Issah Abdulai

University of Ghana, Ghana

Title: Women suffering from HIV in Ghana, Africa
Biography:

Abstract:

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a sexually transmitted infection which interferes with one’s body’s ability to fight the organisms that cause disease. HIV has been named global epidemic with its toll being felt significantly in Africa. It has been a major cause of death in the world. It also continues to be a public health concern. It poses a risk to future generations with villages being wiped out due to its impacts. The most effected generation being the most active age group leaving the elderly and aged to look after the young. Widows and orphans have been a major occurrence in many villages and they struggle to survive the impacts of HIV. Statistics have proved that Africa has been the most affected with the situation being aggravated by the poverty levels in the continent. Symptoms that are common among women are yeast infections, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), menstrual changes, genital ulcers, warts or herpes and psychological symptoms. Evidence available suggests that HIV treatment works well for women unless they are pregnant. In this presentation, I will share the knowledge and ideas with other students and scholars around the world in order to help reduce HIV to undetectable and
harmless levels permanently and provide cure for the deadly disease.

  • Special Session
Location: Hilton San Antonio Airport

Session Introduction

Maurice Y Mongkuo

Fayetteville State University, USA

Title: Dimensions of comprehensive integrated HIV prevention program for at risk young adult minorities
Speaker
Biography:

Maurice Y Mongkuo is a Professor of Public Administration at Fayetteville State University (FSU) and PI/Project Director of FSU MSI CBO HIV Prevention Project. He has a BA degree from Kenyon College; and MPIA and PhD in Public Policy Research and Analysis from the University of Pittsburgh. He has authored two books and over 30 peer-reviewed articles, monographs, technical reports, and policy briefings on HIV prevention behavior and socio-economic problems of at-risk minority youths and adults. He is currently the PI/Project Director of FSU Comprehensive Integrated Substance Abuse and HIV Prevention Program, and was a Co-PI of FSU Multi-Level Integrated HIV Prevention Program. For over 20 years, he has been the Principal Investigator, Methodologist and Project Director of several government-funded policy research projects and community prevention projects involving at-risk minority populations and communities.

Abstract:

Aim: The comprehensive integrated HIV prevention program (CIHPP) is an evidenced-based approach for providing effective HIV program to at risk young adults along the seven dimensions of care. The aim of CIHPP is to provide appropriate prevention services to prevention the spread of HIV infection at each dimension of care including, social marketing, HIV testing, evidenced-based intervention for HIV positive persons, evidencedbased intervention for HIV negative persons, and evidenced-based intervention for HIV positive and IV negative persons.
 
Method: The CIHPP begins with conducting a need assessment of the target population, developing a strategic plan; preparing a logic model; developing an infrastructure to include, training of program staff, setting up a secure encrypted electronic system for program data and records, setting up a quality assurance system, and collaboration with qualified community based organizations for effective implementation of the program; establishment of an advisory council, preparing a program implementation progress monitoring system; and a program evaluation and reporting plan for assessment program objectives and goals. Implementation phase of the program involve collection of survey data from program participation on alcohol consumption use and risk awareness, substance use and risk awareness, knowledge of HIV, motivation to prevention HIV infection, and HIV prevention behavioral skills. Data is also collected on direct, indirect, and environment intervention services. The data are recorded on individual and group dosage forms, and entered into secure computers for analysis and reporting. A navigation system is set-up to link identified HIV positive persons to appropriate medical care and EBIs and adherence to the care and EBIs, and well as provide partners services. A telemedicine system is set-up to reduce barriers associated with poor retention in HIV care, increase service delivery accessibility and efficiency, and improve service delivery and retention in care for clinics serving predominantly minority people living with HIV (PLWH) in areas with increased HIV burden.
 
Results: During two years of implementation of the CIHPP program significant improvement outcomes was found in protective and risk factors including, substance abuse risks awareness, especially in tobacco and alcohol use awareness; knowledge of HIV prevention; and HIV prevention motivation. The result of the other key outcome indications is still pending.
 
Conclusion: The CIHPP shows significant promise in preventing the spread of HIV among at-risk minority young adult. However, maintenance of the program in the long term is strongly recommended until the spread of HIV infection is brought under control among the target at-risk young adult populations.

Wei Huang & Imelda Omana-Zapata

BD Life Sciences, USA

Title: CD4 counts in capillary and venous blood samples
Speaker
Biography:

Wei Huang has completed his PhD in Chemistry from University of Kentucky and Post-doctoral studies from University of California, Davis. He is currently a staff Research Scientist at BD Biosciences at San Jose, California. He has spent many years in the drug discovery industry and worked on antiretroviral drug development at Gilead Sciences, one of the leading pharmaceutical companies for HIV drugs. At BD Biosciences, he has worked on the development of the FACSPresto™ near-patient CD4 counter, which received CE-IVD and 510(k) clearances.

Abstract:

The CD4 cell count is a significant indicator of immune function and remains an important tool to monitor disease progression and predict overall survival in HIV-infected individuals. The gold-standard technology for determining a CD4 cell count is flow cytometry using whole blood collected by venipuncture. Technological advances now allow for the accurate measurement of CD4 cell counts in near-patient platforms, using small sample volumes such as capillary blood from fingerstick samples. To determine whether capillary samples are suitable alternatives to venipuncture samples for CD4 cell count assays, results from paired venous and capillary samples need to be carefully compared. Literature reports were examined in the context of the physiological differences in sample types, as well as the potential clinical impact of the sampling methods and testing technologies. A trend of approximately 5% positive bias was revealed in CD4 counts from capillary samples compared to venous samples when using the same cell counting technology in adult HIV patients. In practice, this small difference in CD4 cell count is insignificant in most circumstances, and CD4 cell counts obtained from capillary blood samples are
equivalent to results from venous blood samples if the proper sampling method is followed. Clinicians can now focus on factors related to patient health rather than sample type and testing platform as they use the CD4 cell count to make patient management decisions.

Day 2 :

Biography:

Mandy J Hill academic portfolio to date has demonstrated feasibility of HIV prevention through formative intervention work that is designed to meet the people where they are, including the emergency department. Her current research agenda is to adapt efficacious interventions to varied settings where vulnerable populations at especially high risk for HIV infection can be accessed. Trained as a Clinical Researcher, she has advanced a prevention-based public health agenda within a clinical environment. She published 22 peer reviewed manuscripts, of which 10 she first authored, in diverse areas addressing health disparities among minority populations, coupled national and international presentations and extramural funding support from the CDC and the NIH through the American Psychological Association and Centers for AIDS Research, as well as industry sponsored research. In summary, her expertise includes randomized clinical trial development and implementation, and integrating public health-based prevention research into varied settings that include the emergency department.

Abstract:

Statement of the Problem: The HIV epidemic in the US continues to disproportionately affect the health of young, African American women. The focus here is on predictors of sexual scripts, which are roadmaps to sexual decision making. The objective is to examine life experiences, normative beliefs, and cultural predictors of sexual scripts that place young, sexually-active, substance-using, African American women (YSSAAW), a population with significant vulnerability to HIV, at even greater risk of becoming HIV positive.

Methodology & Theoretical Orientation: Face-to-face, tablet assisted, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 30 YSSAAW in a private or public emergency department in Houston, TX, USA. Interviews were professionally transcribed, then coded by a trained 3-member coding team. One interview was used to create the codebook. Codes were organized into primary themes during face-to-face meetings. Inter-coder reliability was assessed and confirmed using Cohen’s Kappa statistics, demonstrating a nearly perfect agreement between coders 1 and 2 (K=0.93).

Findings: Three primary themes were described as predictors of sexual scripts: emotional wounds, norms, and decision making. Prevalent codes among YSSAAW within the emotional wounds theme included infidelity (43.33%) and parental dynamics (56.67%). Under the norms theme, we found 66.7% of YSSAAW discussed their communication norms and 30% disclosed cultural norms. Within the sexual decision making theme, we gained relevant information and implications on relationship longevity and having an STI history among 46.67% of the sample.

Conclusion & Significance: Primary indicators of high risk sex revealed sexual scripts that demonstrated gender-based power differentials; thereby, supporting utility of a theoretical framework that includes the Sexual Script Theory and the Theory of Gender and Power. The logic model illustrates how emotional wounds from life experiences (i.e. trauma, abuse, abandonment) and socially acceptable norms establishes the sexual script of YSSAAW; whereby, high risk sex is the most likely outcome relative to prevention strategies.

Keynote Forum

Reza Nassiri

Michigan State University, USA

Keynote: Perspective on HIV epidemic, prevention and control

Time :

Biography:

Reza Nassiri is a Professor of Clinical Pharmacology, Professor of Family and Community Medicine, and Lecturer in Global Health, Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine at Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. His research interests focuses on Clinical Pharmacology of HIV/AIDS & TB, prevention and control of infectious diseases, neglected tropical diseases, community health, global health, and socio-ethical determinants of health. He works on international public health issues and has expertise in global health education, research, policy and governance. He has made contributions in various fields of medical sciences including clinical investigation and health education. On the basis of his extensive experience and expertise in HIV/AIDS and TB, he developed Clinical Research Programs in Brazil, South Africa, Haiti, Dominican Republic and Mexico. The core foci of such programs are socio-cultural, bio-ethical determinant of HIV/AIDS and TB prevention, control and intervention.

Abstract:

AIDS remains a public health and social problem threatening global population. There are approximately 36.7 million people currently living with HIV and tens of millions of people have died of AIDS-related causes since the beginning of the epidemic. The greatest prevalence and incidence remains in Eastern and Southern Africa with 19 million (52%) affected. While new cases have been reported in all regions of the world, approximately two-thirds are in sub-Saharan Africa, with 46% of new cases in Eastern and Southern Africa. In the endemic regions outside the western countries, many people living with HIV or at risk for HIV do not have access to prevention, care, and treatment. In addition to affecting the health of individuals, HIV impacts households, communities, and the development and economic growth of nations. Many of the countries affected by HIV epidemic also suffer from other infectious diseases, food insecurity, and other serious problems. The number of people newly infected with HIV, especially children, and the number of AIDS-related deaths have declined over the years. The number of people with HIV receiving treatment increased to more than 18 million in 2016. However, a new gap exists. While studies show declines in new infections among adults observed earlier in the epidemic, incidence is now rising in some areas of the world particularly in China and India. HIV epidemic has led to a resurgence of tuberculosis (TB), particularly in Africa. TB is a leading cause of death for people with HIV worldwide. In 2015, approximately 11% of new TB cases occurred in people living with HIV. Interestingly, between 2004 and 2014 TB deaths in people living with HIV declined by 32%, largely due to the scale up of joint HIV/TB services. From our experience of HIV preventive work in the Dominican Republic, effective prevention strategies include behavior change programs, condom use, HIV testing, blood supply safety, harm reduction efforts for injecting drug users, and male circumcision. Additionally, recent research has shown that providing HIV treatment to people with HIV significantly reduces the risk of transmission to their HIVnegative partners. Pre-exposure antiretroviral prophylaxis (PrEP) has also been shown to be an effective HIV prevention strategy in individuals at high risk for HIV infection. In 2015, WHO recommended PrEP as a form of prevention for high-risk individuals in combination with other prevention methods. Additionally, in 2016, the U.N. Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS stated PrEP research and development should be accelerated. Numerous studies suggest that prevention should be based upon “evidenced-based knowledge of epidemic” directed to tailor the prevention and control measures to the local context and epidemiology, and using a combination of sustainable strategies.

  • Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission | Sexual stigma and discrimination | HIV and Vaccine Development | Introduction to parasitology and Stds
Location: Hilton San Antonio Airport

Session Introduction

Marjorie Jones

Illinois State University, USA

Title: New Directions for Leishmania Therapy: How about Electromagnetic Radiation11:15-11:40
Speaker
Biography:

Abstract:


Since Leishmania diseases are becoming more wide spread and there are few good drug therapies, new directions of treatments should be explored. With this in mind, we engaged in evaluating the effects of Pulsed Radio Frequency (PRF) on L. tarentolae, as a model system (Taylor et al. 2010) for cell viability, ability to secrete acid phosphatase, as well as motility (as evaluated by microscopy). Vannier-Santos et al. (1995) had reported that Leishmania secreted acid phosphatase (SAP) which has an important role in the infectivity by Leishmania. We were especially interested in the potential effect of electric fields on Leishmania tarentolae in culture and some clinical implications due to the induced release of secreted acid phosphatase from Leishmania. Our data have implications for clinical treatments of cutaneous Leishmania infections.

Lise-Lott Rydstrom

Karolinska Institutet, Sweden

Title: To grow up with an innate or early acquired HIV infection
Biography:

Abstract:

Aim: The aim is to describe how children growing up with an early acquired HIV and their legal guardian’s experiences the life of these children.
 
Today, more than 2.6 million children aged 0-15 years are living with an HIV infection in the world. The majority of these children are infected by mother to child transmission and have a perinatally acquired HIV. As a result of better and more accessible treatment children are expected to become adults and live a long life. Data concerning living with perinatally acquired HIV or being a legal guardian of a child with perinatally acquired HIV is scarce. A nationwide study on children growing up with an early acquired HIV and their legal guardian’s in Sweden indicates that these children do well related to health related quality of life and HIV related stigma. Studies have also shown that legal guardians rate their children’s health related quality of life and HIV related stigma relatively consistent. However, disclosure is one issue where children’s and legal guardian’s expectations are diverge.

Biography:

Abstract:

Background: Millions of school age children all over the world are out of school due to various reasons which range from disabilities caused by diseases, natural calamities, insecurity, and poor infrastructure to lack of basic amenities. Tungiasis is a neglected disease that is caused by female Tungiasis flea, Tunga penetrans that embeds on the hosts, epidermis. This study was carried out to determine Tungiasis prevalence among school age children 5-14 years and to relate the disease status to acquisition of basic education.
 
Methodology: A cross-sectional descriptive research design in which 200 households were systematically randomly selected from which a maximum of two children aged 5-14 years were recruited adding to a total of 384 children. Questionnaires, interview guide, observation check list and physical examination guide were used to collect data. Data analysis was carried out using SPSS version 21 software. Correlations and regression tests, Wald chi square test were carried out in addition to descriptive statistics.
 
Results: A total of 347 children aged between 5-14 years participated in the study from a sample of 384 children drawn from 200 households. Prevalence of Tungiasis at household level was at 37% (74 households) while among children the prevalence was at 44% (153), out of whom 63% (97) were male and 37% (56) were female. It was shown that children who were younger aged below 11 years were vulnerable to tungiasis at p- value 0.048. Family size and tungiasis status have a negative Pearson relationship -0.01. However the relationship is not statistically significant (p–value 0.979). This study found that, children suffering from tungiasis were likely to repeat same class even more than one time (p-value 0.007). Tungiasis status was found to influence the ability of children to attend school at p-value 0.001.
 
Conclusion: Tungiasis is prevalent among the children aged between 5-14 years in endemic areas. Chronic tungiasis that had lasted for more than 1 year was common among children. Severe tungiasis caused morbidity among children, low rate of school attendance and caused high drop-out rates. Acquisition of basic education can be improved by addressing and managing tungiasis which would improve school attendance, retention and dropout rates.

Biography:

El-Beshbishi has completed her PhD-research and Post-doctoral studies from University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas-USA. She is Professor of Medical Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, and Mansoura University, Egypt. She has her expertise in schistosomal therapeutic and immunological studies. She has published more than 30 papers in reputed journals and has been serving as an Editorial Board Member and reviewer of repute.

Abstract:

Schistosoma mansoni chronically infects million people globally, causing liver fibrosis. Praziquantel (PZQ) is the drug of choice for all human schistosome, yet the drug cannot prevent the advancement of liver fibrosis. So, there is a pressing necessity to develop substitutes/and or adjuvants targeting the scarring process, aiming to prevent the progression to fatal fibrosis. Our study aimed to investigate the hepatoprotective efficacy of the antiinflammatory drug; vinpocetine, and the vasodilator agent; isosorbide-5-mononitrate (IS-5 MN) in Schistosoma mansoni-infected mice using some parasitological and histopathological parameters. PZQ-treated mice revealed significant reductions in hepatic egg load and granuloma count, with non-significant reduction in granuloma diameter and expressed the highest scores of hepatic inflammation and necrosis. While either vinpocetine or IS-5- MN significantly reduced granuloma count and diameter. Moreover, IS-5-MN monotherapy significantly reduced hepatic inflammation and necrosis. The best significant reductions in hydroxyproline and collagen contents were obtained in the mice groups treated with IS-5-MN combined with PZQ or vinpocetine. In conclusion, our results point to vinpocetine and IS-5-MN as a convenient and promising adjuvant agents to PZQ to ameliorate schistosomal liver pathology. Future studies are recommended to reveal the efficacy of vinpocetine, IS-5-MN and PZQ co-administration in schistosomiasis advanced liver fibrosis.