Virologist presents lecture on the emergence of the AIDS epidemics

Wednesday March 19, 2014
12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
Emerson Hall, Room 304
545 Barnhill Drive

Professor Preston Marx will deliver a presentation entitled, “Emergence of the AIDS Epidemics: Transition from SIV to HIV.”

The sudden emergence of the AIDS pandemic in the 20th century raised questions about AIDS origin(s), including the timing and root causes. Research led to understanding that HIV/AIDS is not one pandemic, but rather a combination of multiple epidemics and failed outbreaks, alongside the well known pandemic. The sources of all HIVs are simian immunodeficiency viruses (SIVs) on the African continent. Finding SIV and the evolution of SIV to HIV will be presented, along with prevailing theories on why AIDS emerged in the 20th century.

Marx is Professor of Tropical Medicine and Chair of the Division of Microbiology at the Tulane National Primate Research Center of Tulane University. A virologist with over 40 years of experience in research on non-human primate models of AIDS vaccines and the origins of the AIDS epidemics, Dr. Marx’s research contributions include finding Simian Immunodeficiency Viruses (SIV’s) in sooty mangabeys in West Africa, showing this particular mangabey monkey sub-species as the source of HIV-2. Dr. Marx has conducted research projects in Sierra Leone, Gabon, Cameroon and the Republic of Congo. He recently published research in Science magazine showing that the SIV family of viruses is hundreds of thousands of years older than previously believed.

Co-sponsored by the Medical Humanities and Health Studies Program and the Indiana University School of Medicine Center for AIDS Research.

Pizza will be served. Questions? Please email ticarmic@iu.edu.

IUPUI student designs safe house for children in Swaziland

An interior design student at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis has designed a “safe house” that will be built to protect child-led families in the Kingdom of Swaziland in southern Africa who desperately need safe places to live.

A full-sized section of the safe house, built by the Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters, will be unveiled at 6 p.m. on February 18, at an exhibit of photographs that explores the lives of these children, “Hope Seekers: Survival of Southern African Child-Led Households in the Shadow of HIV.” The section of the safe house will be displayed in the main lobby at Hine Hall from February 19 – 25.

“The exhibit tells the stories of these children and really allows people to enter into an experience of gaining more of an intimate look at the child-led households in South Africa,” said Cynthia Prime, CEO of Saving Orphans through Healthcare and Outreach. SOHO is an Indianapolis-based nonprofit organization taking a leading role in efforts to help educate, nurture and feed the child-led families.

The number of households in Swaziland led by children, some as young as 8, is mushrooming, resulting from an HIV/AIDS pandemic that is creating a new orphan every 14 seconds.

The 800-square-foot sustainable safe house will be constructed of local materials and feature a single sloping roof and a rainwater collection and filtration system. Safety features include windows placed high on the walls and an outdoor courtyard surrounded by high walls. Six orphan girls will live in the safe house that provides communal sleeping and living spaces.

In a written presentation of her design, Earley wrote that the children of Swaziland have very few adults to cherish and protect them from the dangers of their world. “This is why the sustainable housing units are such an important endeavor to start to build the nourishing community these children so desperately need. Building this groundwork to create a safe haven and a means to a more thriving reality is hopefully just the beginning for these six girls that will occupy this homestead.

“As AIDS cheats these kids of parents, it is common that the surviving family also will cheat them out of anything moveable or of value from their remaining homes,” Earley said. “Everything the children knew to be theirs is ripped away from them along with their parents. For this reason, it’s essential that furniture be built into the walls of the home or fixed together resulting in immobility. It is my goal that the young girls of the homestead will feel safe, secure and confident in their permanent dwelling.”