Cohen Talks HIV Prevention, Learning Rules of Emerging Infections during China Visit

UNC professors Gail Henderson and Myron Cohen (center, front) working in China, c. 1980.

UNC professors Gail Henderson and Myron Cohen (center, front) working in China, c. 1980.

Our Director Myron Cohen, MD, began his research career in China more than 30 years ago. Although based in Chapel Hill now, he visits China annually and talks regularly with UNC Project-China Director Joseph Tucker, MD, PhD. In this blog post, Dr. Tucker and colleagues at UNC Project-China recount Dr. Cohen’s visit to the region in October 2016 during which he presented in three cities and was the keynote speaker of China’s National Conference on HIV/AIDS.

Guangdong Provincial STD Control Center in Guangzhou
By Alice Zhang, BS, UNC Doris Duke Fellow (2016-2017)
Dr. Cohen delivered a lecture at the Guangdong Provincial STD Control Center in Guangzhou on Oct. 25. His lecture focused on the ethical challenges encountered during the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) 052 trial, of which he was principal investigator. This multinational randomized clinical trial demonstrated the concept of “treatment as prevention” and resulted in the 2015 World Health Organization recommendations that antiretroviral treatment be offered to all people living with HIV (PLHIV), regardless of CD4+ count. During his Guangzhou visit, Dr. Cohen also visited the Number Eight People’s Hospital, which is a key infectious diseases hospital that treats the most people living with HIV in southern China.

From L to R: Shinaya Wong (Executive Assistant to Chairman Wang), Dr. Kumi Smith (UNC postdoctoral fellow), Weiming Tang (UNC Assistant Professor), Fazheng Group Chairman Guangfa Wang, Cohen, Fazheng Group Chief Executive Officer Jun Pan, Joseph D. Tucker (UNC Project-China Director), and Larry Han (UNC alumni and Schwarzmann Scholar).

From L to R: Shinaya Wong (Executive Assistant to Chairman Wang), Dr. Kumi Smith (UNC postdoctoral fellow), Weiming Tang (UNC Assistant Professor), Fazheng Group Chairman Guangfa Wang, Cohen, Fazheng Group Chief Executive Officer Jun Pan, Joseph D. Tucker (UNC Project-China Director), and Larry Han (UNC alumni and Schwarzmann Scholar).

National Conference on HIV/AIDS in Chengdu
By Kumi Smith, PhD, UJMT Fogarty Global Health Postdoctoral Fellow
Next, Dr. Cohen traveled to Chengdu to participate in the 2016 Chinese National Conference on HIV/AIDS as the keynote speaker. Addressing an audience of over 2,000, Dr. Cohen described the trajectory of HIV/AIDS research to date, and provided insights into future directions of inquiry in the areas of prevention, treatment and cure. Participants were made up of experts across many fields of HIV/AIDS research – from microbiology and immunology, clinical care, behavioral research, and epidemiology – and hailed from across China’s 31 provinces and autonomous regions as well as several international countries.

Stanford Center at Peking University in Beijing
By Joseph Tucker, MD, PhD, Director of UNC Project China
Dr. Cohen gave a seminar-style talk on Oct. 28, to the Stanford Center at Peking University. His talk there was for undergraduates, graduate students and faculty at Stanford’s Center. The center is the university’s hub for faculty and students engaged in research, teaching, training and outreach activities in China. Dr. Cohen was hosted by Jean C. Oi, MA, PhD, the William Haas Professor in Chinese Politics, and Andrew Walder, PhD, the Denise O’Leary & Kent Thiry Professor at the School of Humanities and Sciences. Dr. Cohen has known these two China experts since they trained together at the University of Michigan, and were all some of the first U.S. visitors to China during the post-reform period.

Dr. Cohen talks about the rules to fighting infections during the Lancet-CAMS health summit.

Dr. Cohen talks about the rules to fighting infections during the Lancet-CAMS health summit.

Lancet-CAMS in Beijing
By Weiming Tang, PhD, MD, MS, Assistant Director of UNC Project-China
As a keynote speaker for Lancet-Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (CAMS) health summit, Dr. Cohen was invited to give a talk on “fighting infections” to an audience of about 500 people in different fields of medical research in China. Dr. Cohen mentioned that the number one thing we need to fight against infections is to know the rule of the infections. He briefly mentioned how we use these rules to deal with new emerging infectious diseases such as SARS and Zika in recent years. Take AIDS prevention and control as an example, he introduced what researches have been learning about the different stages of HIV transmission by studying people who are unexposed, exposed (precoital/coital), exposed (postcoital) and infected.

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