Providing HIV medical care education in Northeast Florida for 25 years
Since 1997, the University of Florida Center for HIV/AIDS Research, Education and Service, or UF CARES, has hosted an annual conference to increase awareness and educate health care providers and other medical professionals about human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV.
UF CARES is proud to present its 25th Annual Infectious Diseases and HIV Conference of Northeast Florida on Sept. 17. To commemorate the event’s silver anniversary, the conference will address how HIV care has grown and changed over the past quarter century in Jacksonville and surrounding areas and will look toward future advancements.
UF CARES is the only comprehensive pediatric-, adult- and family-focused HIV and AIDS program in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia. Through its multidisciplinary approach and strong collaborative network, UF CARES is a one-stop program through which patients can receive most services in a single, coordinated visit. The medical team aims to enhance the quality of life of patients and decrease the likelihood of future transmission of HIV through education, preventive health measures and specialized services.
When UF CARES was formed 30 years ago, a dedicated team of five health care providers, led by UF CARES Director Mobeen Rathore, MD, had a vision to create an annual infectious diseases and HIV conference.
“In the first five years of the Rainbow Center, now known as UF CARES, we identified a significant need for ancillary programs to educate medical professionals and laypeople about HIV and to address stigma,” Rathore said. “The conference helps keep the community apprised of HIV advancements, developments and prevention.”
Through the years, UF CARES secured grant funding to offer an annual conference. Typically, 100 to 200 professionals attend and earn continuing medical education credits. The conference garners local and national speakers, addressing timely topics, such as comorbidities, domestic abuse, mental health, substance abuse and more.
This year, the program will be online only. Mark Kline, MD, a physician-in-chief and chief academic officer at the Children’s Hospital New Orleans and a professor of pediatrics at the Tulane University School of Medicine, is a featured speaker. Kline is an internationally renowned leader and was nominated for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for his work in expanding access to lifesaving medical care and treatment to children and families in need worldwide.
“We select the highest-caliber speakers who are nationally and internationally renowned, but we also have local experts and key opinion leaders so they can address the local issues. The quality of our speakers can match any national and international conference on HIV,” Rathore said.
Saniyyah Mahmoudi, MSN, APRN, AGPCNP, a clinical program coordinator and research manager with UF CARES, has helped coordinate the conferences throughout the years and shared how treatment has evolved.
“The initial HIV medications had increased side effects and metabolic complications. Patients took multiple pills per day. Right now, HIV medications have fewer side effects, and the number of pills is down to one per day,” Mahmoudi said. “The latest advancement in HIV care offers access to two drugs that may be administered by injection once a month. There are clinical trials addressing administering the two drugs once every other month, which is even better.”
Register for the 25th Annual Infectious Diseases and HIV Conference of Northeast Florida to learn more about how HIV care has changed over the years and for access to great networking opportunities. The cost to attend is $10.
Visit UFHealthJax.org/hivcare to register.
Mobeen H. Rathore, MBBS (MD), CPE, FACPE, FIDSA, FAAP
Associate Chair, Department of Pediatrics; Chief, Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Immunology; Director, UF Center for HIV/AIDS Research, Education and Service (UF CARES)