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Researchers to Present Latest Findings at AIDS Conference

Kaiser Permanente is a major sponsor of AIDS 2020. Research Scientist Michael Silverberg, pictured, is 1 of 3 Kaiser Permanente researchers and clinicians delivering oral presentations at the prestigious conference.

Kaiser Permanente research scientists and clinicians will bring a long tradition of discovery and innovation when they present new findings and host live online panel discussions at the virtual 23rd International AIDS Conference July 6-10.

Work by scientists at the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research and clinicians from The Permanente Medical Group on the effect of HIV medicines on body weight, an increase in sexually transmitted diseases among men who use HIV preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP), and the effectiveness of the organization’s new pharmacy tracking tool for HIV patients are just a few of the poster exhibits and oral presentations scheduled for the conference.

Kaiser Permanente, a sponsor of the conference, also is hosting 4 live Kaiser Permanente Expert Panels on HIV and AIDS care in the age of COVID-19, advances in PrEP, the impact of its HIV clinic for women, and building an HIV provider pipeline.

It is so gratifying to be part of a culture that values evidence-based medicine with the primary goal to improve the well-being of patients.

Research Scientist Michael Silverberg, PhD, MPH, has focused on AIDS and HIV at Kaiser Permanente since 2004. He said the organization is in a “truly unique” position to lead AIDS research because of its longstanding HIV Registry, access to electronic health records, and dedicated clinicians.

“We were one of the first groups to report a finding that HIV patients had a higher risk of heart attack,” Silverberg said. “That was in 1998. It was a significant finding, and since then we’ve been very aggressive in terms of cardiovascular care of HIV patients.”

His talk at the conference on data around weight gain in members taking medicine for HIV is important, he said, because it is tied to the well-documented risk of heart attack and other obesity-related conditions among HIV patients.

“There is concern that these newer drugs have a metabolic effect of weight gain that is more than what should be occurring,” he said. “It’s a concern because of the history of cardiovascular complications.”

The use of PrEP among people who are at high risk for getting HIV through unprotected sex is the topic of several exhibits and talks by Kaiser Permanente researchers at this year’s conference.

“Kaiser Permanente was one of the first organizations that was able to show that with this medicine, people in routine clinical settings who were at high risk could take it and not get HIV,” Silverberg said.

Talks by Jonathan Volk, MD, and clinical pharmacist Christine Bruno include results of a study of long-term outcomes among those who use PrEP and results of a study on large-scale pharmacy management of members who use PrEP.

Jonathan Volk, MD, will present an oral abstract at the conference.

Exhibits include the rise in sexually transmitted diseases other than HIV among people who use PrEP, scaling up the use of the medicine among those at risk for HIV, targeted outreach to patients overdue for lab tests, and the benefits of pharmacists in the overall quality of HIV care.

Silverberg said the history of Kaiser Permanente research in AIDS and HIV can be traced and credited to its clinicians and support staff who care for patients.

“From early on in the epidemic they have communicated across all Kaiser Permanente regions in the U.S. about emerging treatments and potential disparities in care,” Silverberg said. “From a research perspective, it is so gratifying to be part of a culture that values evidence-based medicine with the primary goal to improve the well-being of patients.”

Missed the conference? Catch up on all of the news and video clips!

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