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According to the Centers for Disease Control, AIDS is the leading cause of death for African-American women aged 25–34 years. Doctors at one United Methodist-supported university believe they are on the verge of a breakthrough that could slow the spread of the deadly virus. Reed Galin reports.              

 
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SCRIPT:

(Locator: Nashville, Tn.)

Researchers in lab: “Looks like only one of them is infected.”

For every experiment performed, Dr. James Hildreth and his team of researchers are moving closer to answers about AIDS. In the U.S., African Americans account for more than half of new infections but at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, there is hope.

Dr. James Hildreth/Program Director, Meharry Medical College: “A vaccine for HIV may be a long time coming. So the best alternative to a vaccine is a microbicide. And these are gels or creams that women would use to block vaginal transmission of the virus.”

Dr. Hildreth believes the lifesaving drug he’s developing could become available within five years. One of the researchers wishes it could have come sooner. He lost his mother-in-law to the disease ten years ago.

Dr. Harry Taylor/Researcher, Meharry Medical College: “Having someone that’s close to me that’s been impacted by this disease just gives my work a lot more meaning.”

Dr. James Hildreth/ Meharry Medical College: “The HIV-AIDS problem is a problem that affects people of color. Being at a medical school like Meharry which has traditionally served the needs of African Americans, there is a sense of pride that we might be part of a solution.”

Michael Linde/Researcher, Meharry Medical College: “If you’re going to go to work everyday you gotta feel somewhat positive about coming in and doing something that hopefully will make the world a better place.”

Dr. James Hildreth/Program Director, Meharry Medical College: “The work that we’re doing here is just as cutting edge, top flight, as work anywhere. And that when the story is told we believe that it’s gonna be told at Meharry Medical College. A partial solution was found for one of the most significant medical problems in the history of man. And that’s not a bad thing.”

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Dr. Hildreth is the director of the Meharry Center for Health Disparities research in HIV. For more information, visit their website at: http://www.mmc.edu or call 615-327-5754.

For more details about the National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness day go to: www.blackaidsday.org.