UH Moment

UH Moment: Addressing HIV/AIDS Epidemic

“We are now on the forefront of preventing the disease but also getting people into much needed HIV care and keeping them there.”


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, half of the people who die of HIV/AIDS in the United States live in the south. 

With a $5 million grant from Gilead Sciences, Inc. the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work is establishing the SUSTAIN Wellbeing COMPASS Coordinating Center to enhance HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment in the Southern United States.

“It is an opportunity for us to fight that fight, really go up against the status quo  of what’s been happening in the southern region because of social and economic injustices,” said Samira Ali, SUSTAIN Center director and assistant professor at the UH Graduate College of Social Work. 

HIV disproportionally affects Latinos, transgender women, black women and black gay and bisexual men, in part because of stigma, poverty, lack of access to healthcare and racial inequality.

“Community health is essential, because communities need to decide what they need,” Ali said.

The UH center will boost HIV/AIDS prevention efforts by incorporating attention to the roles of wellness, trauma, mental health and substance use, especially opioid use.