Mailman Center Shares HIV/AIDS Best Practices with Ukrainian Delegates

UHealth and the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine were once again in the international spotlight when the Mailman Center for Child Development welcomed six Ukrainian leaders participating in the Open World Program. The delegates, who spent Oct. 25 – Nov. 1 in South Florida examining HIV/AIDS education, treatment and prevention, were guests of the Miami Council for International Visitors’ delegation for Open World.

While in South Florida, the delegates met with HIV/AIDS medical service providers, counselors, advocates and volunteers to learn and share best practices. Topics addressed included access to testing, AIDS education for at-risk youth and support and treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS.

At the Mailman Center, the delegates met with Adolescent HIV Counseling and Testing Service (ACTS) staff to share the challenges they face in finding care and treatment services for Ukrainian young people living with HIV/AIDS. In response, Lawrence Friedman, M.D., Director of the Division of Adolescent Medicine, outlined how the Mailman Center is linking HIV-positive teens to primary care services. In addition, delegates learned how the Department of Pediatrics’ adolescent clinic works exclusively with 13- to 24-year-olds in research and community health, and what best practices could be implemented in their own places of business in Ukraine.

“Our experiences with teenage patients are not that much different in our two countries,” said Friedman. “Preventing diseases and encouraging protective behaviors for young people growing up and developing sexually is not easy anywhere. Adherence with treatments for HIV seems to be challenging for youth universally. It’s adolescence that gets in the way of full compliance.”

“Our goal was to share what we’ve learned about HIV/AIDS and to assist our international colleagues,” said Alex Moreno, MPH, clinical program manager of ACTS/P2P, a project of the Division of Adolescent Medicine. “I think we were successful in providing valuable information that will help patients in Ukraine.”

Open World enables emerging Eurasian political and civic leaders to work with their U.S. counterparts and experience American-style democracy at the local level. Delegates range from members of parliament to mayors, nonprofit directors, journalists, political party activists and regional administrators. More than 19,000 Open World participants have been hosted in 50 U.S. states since the program’s inception in 1999.

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