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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, July 17, 2024


While Delegate to Congress Donna Christian Christensen isn’t on the ground at the International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa, she will be there Thursday thanks to technology.
Christensen, chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust and a family physician, will join officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and other experts at the conference in an online roundtable discussion on Thursday to discuss the impact of the global AIDS epidemic on the United States, specifically in communities of color.
The Internet audiocast discussion will start at 12:30 p.m. and be broadcast on Webmd.com and focus on prevention strategies to curb the further spread of the disease.
Christensen, who was invited by Health Secretary Donna Shalala and U.S. Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher to speak at the conference because of her leadership in Congress on the impact of HIV/AIDS on communities of color, was unable to attend due to demands in Washington and the territory.
"It is especially fitting that this year's conference is being held in the one country that is being devastated at an enormous rate by the HIV/AIDS epidemic…" Christensen said, adding that last month she led a CBC discussion with South African President Mbeki on the pandemic and its effect the nation.
As chairwoman of the CBC’s Health Braintrust, Christensen oversees the implementation of national policy on health issues affecting communities of color, particularly to eliminate disparities in health care delivery. Christensen has begun to put into action plans to improve the territory's health care infrastructure in conjunction with HHS and local health officials.
Her efforts include programs to address the threatening AIDS epidemic in the Virgin Islands and throughout the Caribbean. Christensen will travel around the Caribbean with Sandy Thurman, director of National AIDS Policy, later this year to reinforce the region's need for federal assistance in addressing the health crisis.

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