HackensackUMC Holds Annual World AIDS Day Conference for Students

December 19, 2014 11:25 AM
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The AIDS Outreach Program at HackensackUMC hosted the 16thannual World AIDS Day conference for area high school students.
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The AIDS Outreach Programat HackensackUMC hosted the 16th annual World AIDS Day prevention-focused conference for high school students.

This year’s event was attended bymore than 300 students from 13 schools in Bergen, Hudson and Passaic counties along with teachers, school nurses and guidance counselors.   The theme of this year’s conference was “Focus, Partner, Achieve an AIDS-free Generation.”

“In 2010, youth ages 13 to 24 accounted for an estimated 26% of all new HIV infections in the United States,” said Steven Sperber, M.D., chief, Division of Infectious Diseases at HackensackUMC. “Almost 60% of youth with HIV in the United States do not know they are infected. Prevention is the only way to stop the spread of HIV and AIDS, and that is why educational programs for teens, like this one, are so important.”

During the conference, HackensackUMC physicians, nurses and social workers from the Divisions of Adult and Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Pharmacy participated in a panel discussion and answered questions from students regarding the transmission of HIV, symptoms of the virus and prevention. 

Those who participated in the panel discussion included Julie Piwoz, M.D., chief, Section of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Joseph M. Sanzari Children's Hospital, HackensackUMC; Samit Desai, M.D., infectious disease specialist, Internal Medicine, HackensackUMC; Gary Munk, Ph.D., director, Clinical Virology, HackensackUMC; Arpi G. Kuyumjian, Pharm.D., clinical coordinator, clinical pharmacy specialist, Infectious Diseases, HackensackUMC; and Steven Sperber, M.D.  A new addition to this year’s event was confidential HIV testing by the group Buddies of New Jersey, in which 17 students participated.

“More than 35 million people are now living with HIV and 3.2 million are under the age of 15,” said Jason A. Kreitner,FACHE, administrator, clinical services, HackensackUMC. “Not only is the HackensackUMC World AIDS Day conference educational, informative and thought provoking, it gives educators and medical professionals an opportunity to create a dialog with teens to help them make better choices about their health.”

HackensackUMC began the World AIDS Day conference for teens in 1999 with 76 attendees from five schools in Bergen County.

Photo:  The AIDS Outreach Program at HackensackUMC hosted the 16thannual World AIDS Day conference for area high school students. Back row, from left to right: Mary Lamontagne, RN, CRNI, director, Infusion and Hepatitis Treatment Center, Division of Infectious Diseases; Gary Munk, Ph.D., director, Clinical Virology;   Donna Wilson, RN, BSN, MSN, FNP, patient care coordinator, AIDS Outreach Program, Division of Infectious Diseases;  and Kaitlyn Wilson, Demarest, World AIDS Day volunteer.

Front row, from left to Right:   Yasmine Ali, HackensackUMC volunteer; Sharon Clifford, BSN, RN, Division of Infectious Diseases; Marybeth Ali, MSW, Division of Infectious Diseases; and Irene Panagiotis, medical secretary, Division of Infectious Diseases.

 

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