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Pandemic Parallels Webinar Discusses Similarities Between COVID-19 and HIV Epidemics

Photo: CDC

The Wolfsonian Museum hosted a lecture last night about the parallels between the COVID-19 pandemic and the HIV epidemic of the 1980s.

Dr. Greg Millet started his college career planning on being a stockbroker.

“One of the things that you know got me into public health is just seeing the numbers of people around me, Black and Latino men in New York City um who were getting HIV and dying in the 1980s.”

Now he’s an epidemiologist.

His current research is focused on the racial and socioeconomic disparities surrounding COVID-19.

He held a virtual talk discussing how we could learn from the HIV epidemic, as well as some of the similarities between the two.

“You have to remember that the COVID-19 vaccines were predicated on HIV research. Um so you know the fact that we had HIV research and this whole mechanism for HIV vaccine research um has really helped COVID-19.”

Millett’s research points out that Black and Latino Americans are diagnosed with and die of both HIV and COVID at disproportionate rates.

Now, he says distrust of medicine is causing lower vaccination rates among marginalized communities.

“We’re really in a race against time, literally, um like a Hollywood drama, to try to get ahead of um inoculating as many people as possible uh before we have variants that render all of our vaccine protections useless.”

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