World Aids Day

Global solidarity, shared responsibility

In 2020, the world’s attention has been focused by the COVID-19 pandemic on health and how pandemics affect lives and livelihoods. COVID-19 is showing once again how health is interlinked with other critical issues, such as reducing inequality, human rights, gender equality, social protection and economic growth. Eliminating stigma and discrimination, putting people at the center and grounding our responses in human rights and gender-responsive approaches are key to ending the colliding pandemics of HIV and COVID-19.

An estimated 40 million people worldwide have died of AIDS since 1981, and an estimated 37 million are living with HIV (the virus that causes AIDS), making it one of the most important global public health issues in recorded history. First recognized in 1988, World AIDS Day is dedicated to spreading awareness of the AIDS pandemic, uniting in the fight against HIV infections and to mourning those who have died of the disease.

On December 1, 2020, the University of Cincinnati will participate in World AIDS Day with a symposium that will highlight the past, present and future of HIV/AIDS around the world. This virtual event will bring speakers from around the country who have endeavored in many facets of HIV/AIDS treatment, research and advocacy. Below, find information about the event, speakers and how to register to participate.

We hope that this day will serve as a reminder of how much the world can achieve when we collectively share the responsibility for our neighbors.

Symposium Agenda


Welcome and HIV/AIDS Timeline

9:00 - 10:30am

"The Past"


"The Present"

12:15pm - 1:00pm


1:00pm - 2:30pm

"The Future"

2:45pm - 4:15pm

Panel Discussion

4:15pm - 4:30pm

Closing Remarks



Dr. Judith Feinberg was recruited from Johns Hopkins to the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in 1995 to lead the clinical research program in HIV disease, following in the footsteps of the program’s founder, Dr. Peter Frame.  She assumed the leadership of UC’s AIDS Clinical Trials Unit, a position she held until shortly before retiring in 2015 and was succeeded by Dr. Carl Fichtenbaum. 

Over a long career in HIV/AIDS that started during her ID fellowship at UCLA in 1982-84, she made a number of significant contributions to the management of HIV and its associated opportunistic diseases, first as a key staff member at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and then as an NIH-funded investigator. 

At UC she was deeply involved in mentoring students and fellows and caring for patients with HIV and hepatitis.  In 2005, Dr. Feinberg was the first physician in metropolitan Cincinnati to recognize that opioid injection drug use had emerged as a health threat, based on increased admissions to University Hospital for infective endocarditis.  From her experience at Hopkins where the HIV epidemic was largely driven by people who inject drugs, she knew that HIV and other serious infections would follow.  She became involved in developing a harm reduction effort and, in 2014, she established Ohio's 3rd syringe exchange and its 1st true syringe services program, the Cincinnati Exchange Project (CEP). Conceived as a broad public health initiative, CEP not only exchanges sterile syringes for used ones to prevent the spread of HIV and viral hepatitis, but also provides many other needed services: distributing clean injection materials to prevent hepatitis C; offering overdose prevention education and naloxone to reverse overdoses; male and female condoms; safer sex and safer injection education; on-site rapid testing for HIV and hepatitis C; enrolling clients in Affordable Care Act insurance; and referral and active linkage to drug treatment programs, medical and mental health care and social services as desired.  She is a two-time recipient of the Cincinnati Business Courier’s Health Care Heroes Award for her work in HIV/AIDS research (shared with Drs. Frame and Fichtenbaum) and for her vision for and leadership of the Cincinnati Exchange Project. 

After a long career in HIV/AIDS (she is currently the Chair of the HIV Medicine Association and was previously the Chair of the American Academy of HIV Medicine), her retirement was very short.  West Virginia has the highest rates of hepatitis B and C, overdose deaths and babies born in withdrawal in the U.S. and has already had two HIV outbreaks.  Dr. Feinberg joined the faculty at the West Virginia University School of Medicine in 2015 to focus on ending these opioid-related epidemics at their epicenter.  Currently Professor of Behavioral Medicine & Psychiatry, Professor of Medicine/Infectious Diseases, and E.B. Flink Vice Chair of Medicine for Research, she is working hard to turn the tide on substance use disorders and injection drug-related epidemics.  

Mamie Harris’ life experience as a pastor’s wife for 28 years has geared her towards working with the underserved population.  In 1999, she founded IV-CHARIS (Compassionate Hearts, Assisting, Restoring, Instructing, and Serving).  This not-for-profit parachurch organization has touched the lives of over 40,000 individuals through its collective programs.  Mamie learned about pathogenesis, epidemiology, and pharma kinetics.  The end result of her desire to “make a difference” was not only an opportunity to use her 20 years of experience as a Pastor’s wife counseling individuals.  She traveled between Cincinnati and Los Angeles, California as a recipient of a two-year Fellowship presented to her by the Black AIDS Institute.

Because of her dedication, caring and desire to make a difference, IV-CHARIS, the only faith-based, minority HIV organization in Cincinnati, has an established history and reputation of providing services to individuals at a high-risk of contracting and transmitting HIV/AIDS.  After an internal analysis was conducted on data provided from clients via risk assessments and risk reduction plans, IV-CHARIS was able to safely determine that 90% of their clients’ behaviors were linked to unaddressed trauma.  To that end, they began educating themselves and shortly thereafter were on a 5-year Federal Trauma Grant.  Additionally, IV-CHARIS has conducted trauma informed care trainings in various sectors of the Greater Cincinnati Communities from healthcare professionals to faith leaders to community residents.

Some of the highlights folks associate with their brand are:

  • Predominantly staffed by minorities
  • Focus on minority and marginalized communities
  • Para-Church mobilization organization
  • Strong relationship with churches and faith communities
  • Delivering programs that are centered in the “whole-person” concept
  • Solution-based programming

Keith R. Green, has dedicated most of his adult life to of work on the HIV/AIDS epidemic among Black gay and bisexual men. He was associate editor of Positively Aware, helped to establish the anti-AIDS group Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus, led a research project on HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis among young men who have sex with men, and is on the staff of AIDS Foundation of Chicago.

Green began his career in social services as associate editor of Positively Aware magazine, utilizing his platform at the highly respected national HIV treatment education journal to heighten awareness about the social detriments of HIV infection for Black gay and bisexual men. During his tenure there, Green joined forces with the Chicago Department of Public Health and several black gay community organizers to establish the Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus.

The mission of CBGMC has been to mobilize and empower Black gay men and their allies to reduce new HIV infections among Black men who have sex with men in Chicago. In addition to his most recent role as director of federal affairs at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Green also currently serves as chairman of CBGMC, and the organization’s budget has increased nearly 75 percent in the past year.

In 2008, Green received a fellowship to the University of Wisconsin–Madison to complete a master’s degree in social work. He returned to Chicago to assume the role of project director for Project PrEPare. Project PrEPare is a research study being conducted through the Adolescent Trials Network (at John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County and at Howard Brown Health Center), designed to explore the acceptability and feasibility of using pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) among young Black men who have sex with men in Chicago.

In his role, Green is said to have become the first Black gay man in the world to become directly involved in the management and implementation of a study focused on this innovative new biomedical prevention strategy. The study has recruited more young Black men who have sex with men than any other PrEP study to date and is now part of the global initiative (iPrEx), which is largely responsible for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of Truvada as PrEP.

He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Chicago, assistant professor at Loyola University Chicago and director of the Philadelphia African American Leadership Forum.

Dr. Carl Fichtenbaum is a Professor of Clinical Medicine and Associate Chairman for Translational Research, Department of Internal Medicine. He graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Combined BA/MD Program and completed an Internal Medicine-Pediatrics Residency at Bridgeport Hospital-Yale University. He completed post-doctoral training in AIDS and Infectious Diseases at Yale and Washington University respectively. 

He joined the faculty at the University of Cincinnati in 1999.  He is the Principal Investigator of the Infectious Diseases Research Unit that is funded by multiple grants from NIH, NIAID.  He is PI of the AIDS Clinical Trials Group Clinical Research Site where he has an active clinical research program focused on HIV infection, Covid Research and Translational Science.  He is Co-Chair of the UC Academic Health Center Innovation Committee charged with leading Covid Research Efforts.  

He has authored more than 175 peer-reviewed scientific publications and book chapters.  He is actively involved in the mentoring of students, residents, fellows and faculty. 

Darion Banister

Originally from Champaign, IL, Darion attended Tennessee State University an HBCU located in Nashville, Tennessee. He graduated in May 2013 with a B.S. Majoring in Political Science and minoring in Nonprofit Management and Leadership. Darion holds a Master’s in Public Administration and a Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Planning and Administration.

After completing undergrad Darion went to work at Nashville CARES a large AIDS Service Organization located in Nashville, TN where he developed his passion for HIV prevention and advocacy amongst communities of color. Darion started at CARES working as an HIV Prevention Specialist where he conducted over 5,000 HIV tests a year developing partnerships with the three local HBCUs and other colleges in the area. Darion then moved to Atlanta, GA in February of 2017 to work for the CDC Foundation where he managed a youth GBTQ HIV/STD prevention campaign unlink any other of its kind.

In September of 2018 Darion joined Emory University to work on the Gilead COMPASS Initiative as the Regional Manager, Capacity Building and Community Engagement. He is responsible for all trainingis, webinars and managing the shared learning institutes for Southern CBOs with a focus on providing HIV services. Darion’s experience ranges from health education of minorities, program development, health communications and strategic partnerships. In his spare time, Darion enjoys reading, volunteering, traveling and spending time with friends and family. Darion’s philosophy is enjoy your success but be thoughtful and generous, and give back to your community. 


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University of Cincinnati
Midwest AIDS Training + Education Center
UC Office of Equity, Inclusion and Community Impact