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April 25, 2007
Contact: Wendy Lawton
(401) 863-2476

Global Health
Brown To Hold Symposium, Host Exhibition on HIV and Women

In photographs, speeches and scientific talks, the global impact of the AIDS pandemic on women will be explored in a weekend of events held at Brown University May 4-6, 2007. Speakers, including Pauline Muchina, senior women and AIDS advocacy officer with UNAIDS, will discuss prevention barriers and strategies. Events are free and open to the public.

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — The rising number of women infected with HIV, an urgent international health issue, is the subject of a two-day symposium and exhibit to be held at Brown University May 4-6, 2007.

Worldwide, women make up more than half of all people living with HIV; 17.5 million women are infected with the virus that causes AIDS. In the United States, women now account for more than one-quarter of all new HIV/AIDS diagnoses. Only cancer and heart disease kill more women each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Devastating impact
and persistent hope

These African women helped coordinate microbicide clinical trials in their community – an important effort in the fight against the AIDS pandemic.
Image: Frank Herholdt
Microbicides Development Programme

Slowing the spread of HIV in women will be the focus of the program titled “The Global Threat of HIV Among Women: Challenges and Responses.” All events are free and open to the public.

The weekend kicks off Friday, May 4, at 6 p.m. with the opening of Giving Women Power Over AIDS, an exhibit displayed in the lobby of the Sidney E. Frank Hall for Life Sciences, 185 Meeting St., on Saturday and Sunday. The exhibit includes information about microbicides, topical products under development that could reduce the risk of HIV infection. The exhibit also features a haunting photo-essay of Ruth, a woman from Zimbabwe during her last days of struggling with AIDS, and her daughter Martha who is now one of 11 million AIDS orphans in sub-Saharan Africa. Sponsored by the Global Campaign for Microbicides, the exhibit has traveled to more than 20 cities and was displayed at the United Nations in New York.

On Friday, May 5, and Saturday, May 6, panel talks and plenary speeches will be held in Room 117 of MacMillan Hall, 167 Thayer St. Sessions will feature more than two dozen policy-makers, advocates and researchers, many affiliated with The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and The Miriam Hospital, a major Brown teaching hospital. Experts will discuss cultural, social, and political barriers to HIV prevention as well as effective prevention strategies, including state-of-the-science presentations on microbicide and vaccine research.

Perspectives will be global, with speakers discussing education, research and clinical care in several countries, including South Africa, Kenya, Mali, Cambodia, India, and Brazil.

Visiting speakers include:

  • Pauline Muchina, senior women and AIDS advocacy officer, UNAIDS;
  • Anna Forbes, deputy director, Global Campaign for Microbicides;
  • Ira Magaziner, chairman of the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative;
  • Leonard Rubinstein, executive director, Physicians for Human Rights;
  • Renee Ridzon, M.D., senior program officer for HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation;
  • Sharon Hillier, M.D., microbicide expert, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

“The impact of the pandemic on women is devastating, with a steadily growing number of mothers, sisters and friends struggling with HIV/AIDS,” said Kenneth Mayer, M.D., a Brown professor of medicine and community health, an infectious disease specialist at The Miriam Hospital, and the director of the Brown University AIDS Program. “But there is hope. Major contributions to this struggle are being made at Brown, where physicians and researchers have established an international reputation for tracking, treating, detecting and preventing HIV.”

“The Global Threat of HIV Among Women: Challenges and Responses” is sponsored by the Brown University AIDS Program, the Lifespan/Tufts/Brown Center for AIDS Research, The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, and Physicians for Human Rights.

A schedule of speakers and events is online:

For more about Giving Women Power Over AIDS, visit

Editors: Brown University has a fiber link television studio available for domestic and international live and taped interviews and maintains an ISDN line for radio interviews. For more information, call the Office of Media Relations at (401) 863-2476.