World AIDS Day 2016

Meharry Medical College, a National Leader in HIV Prevention and Research, Recognizes World AIDS Day with Free Testings and Stomp Out Stigma Walk

Meharry HIV/AIDS researchers and advocates share information about advances in research and tactics for preventing HIV across Middle Tennessee

Nashville, Tenn. (Dec. 1, 2016) – Each year on Dec. 1, people around the world recognize World AIDS Day by showing their support for those living with HIV and commemorating those who have died. Meharry Medical College, a leading medical, dental and biomedical research institution, will recognize the day with free HIV tests for students and faculty at Tennessee State University, 3500 John A Merritt Blvd., from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. today. Tomorrow, Friday, Dec. 2, at 10 a.m., the institution will host a “Stomp Out Stigma Walk” at the Lloyd C. Elam Mental Health Center on the Meharry campus. The walk is free and open to the public.

Meharry has a rich history in HIV/AIDS prevention and research. In 1989, the institution founded Project C.O.P.E. (Community Outreach Prevention and Education), a program dedicated to decreasing the number of positive diagnosed HIV/AIDS individuals primarily through free education, outreach and testing. In Middle Tennessee, the program hosts workshops at local barbershops, schools, fitness centers, churches and universities. In 2005, the institution spearheaded the Center for AIDS Health Disparities Research (CAHDR) at Meharry Medical College - a research facility designed to identify, understand, and eliminate factors responsible for the profoundly disproportionate burden of AIDS and HIV infection among minority populations in the United States. The Center is reducing the burden of AIDS in local minority communities through basic, clinical, and translational research - including its most recent findings related to how drug use and Hepatitis C impacts HIV positive individuals.

“There are over 1.2 million individuals in our nation who are living with the HIV infection – a condition that continues to disproportionately affect minorities and underserved communities,” said Dr. James E.K. Hildreth, CEO and President of Meharry Medical College and founder of CAHDR.

From the program manager for Project C.O.P.E. to nationally recognized researchers, Meharry has a number experts who can comment on and help bring positive awareness to HIV/AIDS including:

  • Korlew McCainster, MSSW, LAPSW, a program manager for Project C.O.P.E., who directs the program’s outreach, education and testing initiatives across Middle Tennessee. McCainster can share insight on best practices for HIV prevention, resources if you are diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, and early intervention services for those suffering from drug and substance abuse.
  • Chandravanu Dash, Ph.D., assistant professor and researcher at the Center for AIDS Health Disparities, is leading a research team in collaboration with Vanderbilt University to examine how cocaine use may accelerate HIV. His team is also researching the mechanisms of HIV-1 infection, replication, and pathogenesis. Dr. Dash can discuss the correlation between drug abuse and HIV, and his team’s innovative research surrounding new treatments.
  • Vladimir Berthaud, M.D., MPH, is a professor of internal medicine at Meharry’s School of Medicine and the program administrator for the Meharry Community Wellness Center, which provides a broad range of early intervention services to reduce health care disparities including HIV/AIDS. Dr. Berthaud’s most recent research surrounds the correlation between Hepatitis C and the virus. His team’s research has indicated that individuals who are both HIV positive and have Hepatitis C have a higher mortality rate compared to those who are only HIV positive. Dr. Berthaud can discuss his research and the importance of raising awareness of early intervention.

“McCainster, Dr. Dash and Dr. Berthaud have each made significant strides in HIV/AIDS research and prevention,” added Dr. Hildreth.

For more information on Meharry Medical College, visit

About Meharry Medical College

Meharry Medical College founded in 1876, is the nation’s largest private, independent historically black academic health center dedicated solely to educating minority and other health professionals. True to its heritage, it is a United Methodist Church related institution. The College is particularly well known for its uniquely nurturing, highly effective educational programs; emerging preeminence in health disparities research; culturally sensitive, evidence-based health services and significant contribution to the diversity of the nation’s health professions workforce. Diverse Issues in Higher Education’s ranking of institutions annually lists Meharry as a leading national educator of African Americans with M.D. and D.D.S. degrees and Ph.D. degrees in the biomedical sciences. Visit to learn more.



Janet Caldwell
Meharry Medical College

Paige Chipouras
DVL Seigenthaler
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