SYNCing Syndemics and Health Equity: From HIV, STDs and HCV to Opioids and COVID-19

Friday - September 11, 2020
10:00 AM - 11:30 AM ET

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The epidemics of HIV, sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs), hepatitis C (HCV), opioid misuse and overdose are widely recognized as a syndemic in the U.S. Access to health care services and medication assisted treatment of opioid use disorders, income inequality, housing disparities, intensity of policing activities, employment status, and healthcare policies, are all related to the prevalence of substance misuse, overdoses, infection risk and morbidity. With the COVID-19 virus overwhelmingly targeting people who would already be vulnerable to disease, it is important to also examine how it’s interaction with other epidemics may exacerbate the disease burden in certain populations and increase health vulnerability. Panelists will highlight the importance of examining and addressing structural factors, health disparities and health equity to respond to the syndemic of HIV, HCV, opioids, and COVID-19 and how structural factors are addressed through intervention and policy to reduce vulnerability of at-risk areas and populations.


    • Carol Jimenez 
      Health and Human Services, Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy, Viral Hepatitis

    • Dr. Jonathan Mermin
      Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention

    • Dr. Patrice Harris, MD, MA
      Immediate Past President, American Medical Association (AMA)

    • Jo Valentine
      Associate Director, Office of Health Equity, Division of STD Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

    • Camille Schrier
      Miss America 2020

Learning Objectives:

    • Recognize the HIV, hepatitis C (HCV), opioid misuse, and overdose epidemics as a syndemic, and examine the intersection of COVID-19.
    • Identify how health disparities exacerbate syndemics in vulnerable areas and populations.
    • Discuss strategies to address structural factors impacting vulnerable areas and populations in order to respond to the syndemics.

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