Gary F. Spinner, PA, MPH, AAHIVS will speak on “The Intersection of HIV, COVID-19, and Systemic Racism” as part of the University of Lynchburg’s Courageous Conversations series on January 27, 2021, 3-4 pm. PA Spinner will be the first student to present in this series.
PA Spinner has spent his entire career working to improve the health of underserved populations. He began caring for HIV patients in 1983 and has spent decades in community health centers as a provider, administrator, and public health advocate.
Currently, he provides primary care and treats approximately 450 patients for HIV as well as Hepatitis C. “I have had the opportunity to speak nationally on HIV prevention, particularly about a medication we call PREP, which stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis.” He says, ”People with HIV are disproportionately people of color, and they suffer from stigma. It is vital that they have access to quality, compassionate care. Today, a person who is 20 years old and diagnosed with HIV can live a normal life expectancy if they go on antiviral medication. We have come a really long way.”
PA Spinner recently authored a chapter of Fundamentals of HIV Medicine in which he focused on the similarities between the HIV and COVID-19 pandemics. People of color are disproportionately affected by both pandemics.
“It is interesting, and it is really no surprise that the same social determinants of health, the same disparities in health care, the same health inequities that people of color have which makes them more predisposed to becoming infected with HIV are the same factors that impact COVID-19,” PA Spinner explained. During my presentation in October to the U.S. Conference on HIV-AIDS, I offered an African-American proverb on one of my first slides that says ‘when white people catch a cold, Black people get pneumonia.’ It’s a fitting proverb, because people who are disenfranchised, whether you’re looking at diagnoses of diabetes, hypertension, cancer — people who have been victims of systemic racism — there is a huge disparity in outcomes. The COVID-19 pandemic is no different at all.”
PA Spinner has cared for people with HIV and AIDS since the start of the HIV epidemic, and received his credentials as an HIV Specialist from the American Academy of HIV Medicine.
As an advocate for improving health care in the developing world, he has global health experience in Nicaragua, Haiti, and Uganda. He believes that everyone should have access to health care and that racial, ethnic, and gender disparities in health will only be eliminated by strong advocacy for social justice.