Mary Margaret Frank / Darden

While Thomas Jefferson’s Academic Village encouraged interaction between students and faculty, it also encouraged interaction across disciplines.   As the University grows, the pace of the lives of both students and faculty increases, and we all become experts of our own kingdom, the interactions across disciplines, as well as the student-faculty interactions, become strained. 

I propose to engage students across graduate programs in business, public health, nursing and medicine in an exploration of HIV/AIDS within the United States and abroad.  More specifically, we will focus on the disproportionate effect the HIV/AIDS epidemic has had on minority communities in the United States and abroad.

Within the United States:

  • In 2006, African-Americans accounted for 49% of the diagnosed AIDS cases, but only make up 12% of the overall U.S. population.[i]
  • 2% of the Blacks as compared to 0.23% of whites were HIV positive.[ii]
  • Black teens account for 69% of new AIDS cases in 2005 but represented on 16% of all teenagers.[iii]
  • HIV infections were the leading cause of death for Black women (including African Americans) aged 25-34 years.[iv] 
  • The number of AIDS cases per 100,000 among Blacks and Hispanics are 9 times and 3 times, respectively, more likely than whites.[v]
  • HIV was the 5th leading cause of death for Latinas aged 25-44.[vi]


  • Women comprise about half of all people living with HIV worldwide.[vii]
  • Women comprise an estimated 57% of adults living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa.[viii]
  • Young women aged 15-24 comprise three quarters of young people living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa.[ix]
  • In the Caribbean, women comprise 43 percent of adults living with HIV, up from 30 percent in 1995.[x]
  • In Russia, women comprise 44 percent of new HIV cases.[xi]
  • In China in 2004, women comprised 39 percent of reported HIV cases, up from 25 percent in 2002.[xii]
  • Worldwide, young women are 1.6 times more likely than young men to be HIV-positive.[xiii]

My objectives in this exploration are three-fold.  First, I want to bring together students with varied backgrounds and interests to explore a topic of common interest.  Winning the battle against the HIV/AIDS crises will require talented people from a variety of backgrounds to work together for the common goal of saving lives. Second, I want to bring an awareness of the impact of HIV/AIDS on minority communities in the United States and abroad.  Finally, I want to emphasize to these leaders of tomorrow how they can use their talents to promote the welfare of the community to which they are members.

I propose that our exploration would consist of a trip to New York City (and possibly Washington DC).[1]  We would meet with city officials and international relief agencies to discuss the HIV/AIDS crises.  Meetings with New York City officials would consist of learning about and assisting in their successful program to fight HIV/AIDS among the city’s residents. Visits to the international relief agencies would provide insight into the resource and logistic constraints of fighting the battle against HIV/AIDS in developing countries.[xiv]  With the assistance of the John Colley Award, UVA will provide an opportunity for our future leaders to focus on enhancing the welfare of communities with limited access to resources by collaborating across disciplines.  It is these types of opportunities, which convince me that I am privileged to be a member of the academic community at this university.

[1] This exploration is a dream idea; therefore, the logistical details are left open to expand or contract based on funding constraints.

[i] The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, HIV/AIDS Policy Fact Sheet: Black Americans and HIV/AIDS, May 2008.

[ii] Ibid

[iii] Ibid

[iv] viewed on May 15, 2008

[v] The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, HIV/AIDS Policy Fact Sheet: Latinos and HIV/AIDS, May 2008.

[vi] Ibid

[vii] viewed on may 15, 2008

[viii] Ibid

[ix] Ibid

[x] UNAIDS, AIDS Epidemic Update 2007, December 2007.

[xi] Ibid

[xii] UNAIDS, 2006 AIDS Epidemic Update, December 2006.

[xiii] IPPF/UNFPA/Young Positives, “Change, Choice and Power: Young Women, Livelihoods and HIV Prevention,” 2007.

[xiv] A trip to Washington DC would provide the opportunity for the students to take what they have learned in New York City and apply it another municipality with the need for a program.