The Mid-South is at the epicenter of the HIV epidemic in the United States. Memphis and surrounding Shelby County is a geographic hotspot that has been noted as among the 48 counties contributing to >50% of HIV infections in the US. Memphis, sitting at the intersection of Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi, is a large urban area located in the South, where new infections are over twice as high as other regions of the US.
In 1987, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital founder Danny Thomas declared AIDS a catastrophic disease of children and supported the creation of a program that has delivered state of the art comprehensive medical and behavioral health care to children and youth living with HIV at no charge to the patient, participant, or their family.
The St. Jude HIV program is a well-recognized research center and takes part in numerous National Institutes of Health (NIH) and pharmaceutical industry studies. Supported by the NIH, St. Jude is a site for the International Maternal Pediatric Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trials Network (IMPAACT), the Adolescent Trials Network (ATN), the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN), and the Pediatric HIV/AIDS Cohort Study (PHACS). Through clinical trials, patients in the St. Jude
HIV program and in the community have access to cutting-edge research including new drugs in development for HIV prevention and treatment.
The diverse, multidisciplinary St. Jude HIV clinical staff are committed to the cause of HIV education and prevention in the community. All work is done in an environment of collaboration. Since 2008, the initially ATN-funded C2P Memphis coalition, has engaged a broad group of community stakeholders to prevent the further spread of HIV through programmatic and policy-level structural changes. The coalition represents a diverse mix of individuals from various sectors in Memphis, including HIV/AIDS service organizations, faith-based and social service organizations, local government, and members of the priority populations, organized to purposely discuss issues related to HIV prevention and treatment. Today, hand-in-hand with our community partners, we continue to forge brave new paths in this work, and it’s our aim to do no less than bring an end to the HIV epidemic.