July 6, 2020

Kaiser Permanente’s rich history of research and care delivery innovation around HIV and AIDS is being highlighted at the global International AIDS Conference (AIDS2020) that is taking place online July 6-10.

Presentations include a talk on the effect of HIV medicines on body weight by Division of Research investigator Michael Silverberg, PhD, MPH; he found people with HIV taking antiretrovirals gained weight faster than a group of similar people without HIV. Silverberg said the organization is in a “truly unique” position to lead AIDS research because of its longstanding HIV Registry, access to electronic health records, and dedicated clinicians.

“We were one of the first groups to report a finding that HIV patients had a higher risk of heart attack,” Silverberg said. “That was in 1998. It was a significant finding, and since then we’ve been very aggressive in terms of cardiovascular care of HIV patients.”

The conference also features talks by Jonathan Volk, MD, a San Francisco infectious disease specialist with The Permanente Medical Group, who will discuss findings from long-term use of preexposure prophylactic (PrEP) HIV medication; and by Kaiser Permanente Vallejo clinical pharmacist Christine Bruno, PharmD, who will present on a region-wide population management tool that tracks PrEP patients.

Kaiser Permanente, a sponsor of the conference, also is hosting 4 live Kaiser Permanente expert panels on HIV and AIDS care in the age of COVID-19 highlighting clinical care innovation. The topics include advances in PrEP, moderated by Silverberg; the impact of Kaiser Permanente’s HIV clinic for women; and building an HIV provider pipeline.

Other Kaiser Permanente research being presented at the conference reports on the rise in sexually transmitted diseases other than HIV among people who use PrEP, scaling up the use of the medicine among those at risk for HIV, targeted outreach to patients overdue for lab tests, and the benefits of pharmacists in the overall quality of HIV care.

Silverberg said the history of Kaiser Permanente research in AIDS and HIV can be traced and credited to its clinicians and support staff who care for patients.

“From early on in the epidemic they have communicated across all Kaiser Permanente regions in the U.S. about emerging treatments and potential disparities in care,” Silverberg said. “From a research perspective, it is so gratifying to be part of a culture that values evidence-based medicine with the primary goal to improve the well-being of patients.”

This article originally appeared in Division of Research Spotlight