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June 21, 2024 10 mins
For the first time in five years, Philadelphia FIGHT is bringing its HIV Education Summit back to the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 1101 Arch St., on Thursday, June 27th from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  
Keep Going, Keep Moving, A Cure is in Sight is the theme for the event Philadelphia FIGHT will spearhead in honor of AIDS Education Month. The annual summit raises awareness about the latest innovations and strategies to prevent and treat HIV, and the newest developments in the quest to find a cure. I speak to Dr. Tashina Reeder Director of the Community Health Training Alliance for  Philadelphia FIGHT.    
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Episode Transcript

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Good morning, Welcome to Inside,a show about empowering our community. I'm
Lorraine Balladmorrow. Hope you joined usfor another Inspiring Sisters Strug Breast Cancer Walk.
I speak to doctor Camille Reagan fromthe American Association for Cancer Research,
which was a recipient of a portionof the proceeds. She's also with the
Fox Chase Cancer Center. We talkabout what we can do to empower ourselves

when it comes to breast cancer.Plus we speak to a group of truly
inspiring young people fighting for fair fundingfor schools. First, I have been
involved in covering the AIDS and HIVcrisis pandemic for many decades, and the
early part of that period of time, I really didn't think that we would

find a cure within our lifetime.However, what I am now seeing something
very hopeful, and that hopefulness wassparked by Philadelphia Fight because one of their
annual conferences there was someone who spokewho said, yes, it is possible
that we may in fact see acure for AIDS in our lifetime. But
in the meantime, it is possibleto treat HIV like a chronic disease.

Because there have been so many newdevelopments that people need to know about and
also new developments regarding prevention. Well, Philadelphia Fight. For the first time
in five years, they're bringing backthat wonderful HIV education summit to the Pennsylvania
Convention Center on Thursday, June twentyseventh from eight thirty am to three pm.

The theme is keep Going, keepmoving. A cure is in sight
and that is so exciting. SoI'm so glad to welcome to the studio
doctor Tishina Reader, director of theCommunity Health Training Alliance for Philadelphia Fight.
Well, great to see you again. It's been a while and I'm so
excited that you guys are coming backto the Convention Center to talk about HIV.

This has always been a great sourceof cutting edge information about HIV and
a first of all, let's talkabout Philadelphia Fight. Who are you,
and then let's talk about the conference. Thank you for having me today.
So Philadelphia Fight has been around forsome time, for many, many many
years, and we're simply a comprehensivecare facility providing educational services, primary care,

research advocacy to people living with HIVand AIDS and those who are at
risk. And so we offer avariety of services from behavioral health services to
prep services, to HESI services,dental services, education. So we do
a lot of things for the communityas well as a professional seeking training and

so we are a very robust organizationoffering impactful services to treat and to educate.
Well, you know, the thingthat has been so remarkable about Philadelphia
Fight is your annual HIV education sumat which you had every year. You
went on a little bit hiatus becauseof COVID, but you are back,

and I think the thing about theconference that I always looked forward to is
that there was information there that Idid not know about. You always were
the first to let the world know. I think in a way that really
reaches a lot of people what thelatest is regarding HIV and AIDS. So
keep going, keep moving. Acure is in sight. It's the theme.

What a great theme. I lovethat. Why did you decide on
that as a theme, because wedon't want individuals or people to forget that,
Hey, HIV and AIDS is stillhere, but we're working towards cure.
So we're going to keep going.I'm going to keep teaching, me,
to keep educating, going to keepyou know, providing services to you
know, lower the number of transmissions, to help folks understand the importance of

knowing their numbers and seeking care totreat and to learn how to prevent through
prep education and things like that.And so this year's some is huge for
us. This is the first summitin person since twenty nineteen, you know,
COVID came and we had to pivotto online platform, which was a
blessing because we were able to goglobal. We had people from the Philippines,

from Africa attending our summit. I'mlike, wow, this is amazing.
And so that theme is specific tosay, hey, let's not forget
we still have work to do.So there are a number of different workshops
and one of the things that Ithought was kind of interesting is one called
beat HIV and Crisper for Cure.How Philadelphia's moving towards a cure for HIV.

And as I implied at the beginning, when I first started covering eight
HIV and AIDS in the eighties,the thought of a cure seemed just impossible,
you know, it just seemed likeit's not going to happen in our
lifetime. And now there's new geneticresearch moving towards a cure. Tell us
more about this workshop. So thisworkshop will be actually facilitated by the Wistar

Institut to Philadelphia. Fight works closelywith them for many many years and we
were hand in hand on working towardsfinding a cure, and so part of
this research will be spoken to ingreat detail by the doctors who are actually
working on the research to talk aboutpossibilities around possible a cure. You're right,
you know, forty one years,almost forty two years now that this

has been it's great to know thatwe're still looking for a cure. Yeah.
Well, speaking of cure, therecertainly have been a lot of developments
in terms of treatment. It usedto be and I'm sure you are certainly
probably experienced that, but if someoneyou knew became HIV positive, their life

expectancy was usually about two years ifthat. And now we are moving into
a time when, because of allof the new treatments that are available,
people are able to live long andhealthy lives. That means that the idea
of growing old with HIV is somethingpeople need to talk about, right,
And you do have a workshop onthat kind of redefining HIV and aging when

HIV first hit the scene, HIVand a's hit the scene, there was
really no treatment. We didn't knowhow to treat it, so it was
a cocktail of medications where people weretaking a lot of medication to now taking
long acting treatment where you get atreatment shot once a month or every quarter,
depending on I believe it's once amonth. Unquote me on that,
but I believe it's monthly. Youget a shot and you can treat the

virus without even taking it. Issimplified the process of treating a great HIV.
Yeah, yes, it's a chronicillness that you can manage. It's
so longer a death sentence, whichis important for people to know that,
Hey, yes, people were afraidof it because we didn't know how to
treat it. But now there's somuch treatment out here, education out here

specific to how to treat and livea full life, a full, healthy
life with HIV, and that bringsus to also prevent because in addition to
these new treatments that have created moreof a chronic illness treatment approach, there's
also prevention with PREP and other typesof medications that between PREP and between the

HIV treatments, you can get youa viral lode down to zero, which
means that you're not going to transmitit to somebody, right. Yes,
that was another significant mousetone in theworld of HIV and AID. You know,
before it was the fear of transmitting. So the virus is so with
the medication, that's exactly what itdoes. It decreases your viral to a
degree where it's undetectable. Doesn't meanit's gone, it's just it's almost as

if the medication has frozen, soto speak, the virus in a space
where it's not replicating, right,and you cannot transmit the virus to your
partners, but you have to stayon your medication. It's called you equals
you. You may have heard ofthat terminology you equals you. Undetectable means
equals untransmittable. Was a significant mouthstonefor many folks living with the virus because

they realize, wow, I canstill live a full healthy life in terms
of sexually right and still talk tomy partner about other preventative treatment out there
such as PREP and PEP, butalso having a comfort of knowing I can
no longer transmit it as long asI stay on my medication, So that
was really a big deal that themedication does that and keeps you healthy,

improve your immune system, and stillpeople are living lives. Yeah, living
lives, get married, having children, having children. It's possible now thanks
to all the new developments. Sowho should come to this conference? Everyone?
I say that because I think whathappened. Even though we're forty one
years plus into HIV and AIDS,there are still people out here who don't

understand it. They still think youcan catch AIDS. I still hear it
or I know what it looks like, so the stigma is out there.
So I think coming to this conference, you're doing the work in the field,
or you're a professional, invite tomawyou know, may not be aware.
Who may need education around what we'redoing in the world of HIV and
AIDS. I think education is important. When you learn, you can then

teach others. Oh no, that'sactually incorrect. So I think everyone should
attend. Doesn't matter if you're workingin the field or not. Everyone's invited
as a free event. We're goingto be at the convention Center next Thursday,
the twenty seventh of June. Registrationwill start between the hours of a
thirty and nine, so you canregister on our website fight dot org.

Go ahead and register. The summitbegins at nine nine till three and so
we want everybody to attend. You'reinvited. It's a great summit, and
I've always really enjoyed going and havebeen inspired by the many extraordinary speakers and
workshops that you have to offer,which is at the Philadelphia Fight twenty twenty

four HIV Education Summit. Keep going, going, keep moving. A cure
is insight. That is the theme. Doctor Toshina Reader, director of the
Community Health Training Alliance for Philadelphia Fight, thank you so much, thank you
for having me. We'll have moreinsight after these messages.
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