JOHNSON CITY – Dr. Linda M. Distlerath, a leading international expert on the global HIV/AIDS epidemic, will talk about the value of public-private partnerships in controlling the spread of the disease in sub-Saharan Africa on Monday, Nov. 30, at 7 p.m. in the Carnegie Hotel’s Grand Soldiers’ Ballroom.
Distlerath’s presentation, “The Partnership for an HIV-Free Generation: A New Look at HIV Prevention in sub-Saharan Africa,” is part of East Tennessee State University’s Leading Voices in Public Health Lecture Series, hosted by ETSU’s College of Public Health.
The event, which is free and open to the public, falls one day prior to World AIDS Day 2009, being recognized Dec. 1.
Distlerath is global executive director for the Partnership for an HIV-Free Generation, a public-private effort aimed at rapidly reducing HIV prevalence among young people in Africa. UNAIDS, a program of the United Nations, reported in 2008 that two-thirds of the global total of 32.9 million people living with HIV were in sub-Saharan Africa, and three-quarters of all AIDS deaths in 2007 occurred there.
The Partnership for an HIV-Free Generation is notable not only for its mission but also for its union of partners that includes some of the world’s biggest corporations and leading non-profit organizations, including Microsoft, Intel, Hasbro, the Nike Foundation, the Coca-Cola Africa Foundation, Warner Bros., Procter & Gamble, Accenture, Junior Achievement, the Rotarians for Fighting AIDS, Girls Scouts and the MTV Staying Alive Foundation. These partners are joined on the public side by the U.S. Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.
Prior to her work with HIV-Free Generation, Distlerath spearheaded the development and implementation of the African Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Partnerships (ACHAP). A collaborative effort of Merck & Co., the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the government of Botswana, ACHAP is widely recognized as an international model in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Dr. Randy Wykoff, dean of ETSU’s College of Public Health, said Distlerath’s talk will not only illuminate the efforts being made to combat HIV in Africa, but will also offer insights on how public-private partnerships can be effective in tackling other large-scale health problems, including those in Tennessee.
“Dr. Distlerath is an engaging speaker, and the tool they’re using in sub-Saharan Africa – the public-private partnership – has significant relevance outside of HIV/AIDS,” Wykoff said. “Her presentation focuses on HIV/AIDS, but it also has important implications for improving other health care problems, including those we face in our region and our state.”
For more information, or to request special assistance, call the College of Public Health at (423) 439-4243.
# # #