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UCLA Magazine Winter 2004
From Murphy Hall
Dance in the Time of AIDS
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East Meets Westwood
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Winter 2004
East Meets Westwood
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The UCLA/Fogarty AITRP has produced spin-offs, including a two-year program training AIDS researchers in India led by John Fahey, a professor of microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics, and of medicine. The participants spend three months at UCLA designing research projects in consultation with faculty, and then return to India to carry out their projects while remaining in close contact with their UCLA mentors. Notable achievements include the training of a scientist developing a vaccine against a strain of HIV common in India. The program has also forged a productive relationship with the Tuberculosis Research Center in Chennai (formerly Madras). Given that HIV and TB co-infection is high, complicating treatment, Fahey and colleagues convinced the center’s leadership to move into AIDS research and send a scientist to UCLA for training. India’s Armed Forces Medical Services has sent several officers, contributing to the knowledge base that enabled it to begin using anti-retroviral therapy to treat AIDS patients a year before the Ministry of Health.

INES DOURADO GRADUATED WITH a degree in medicine from the Catholic University of Salvador, Brazil, in 1981, two years before AIDS was first reported in her country. Brazil would become the epicenter of the epidemic in South America, accounting for 57 percent of all AIDS cases in Latin America and the Caribbean. By the end of 2001, approximately 610,000 Brazilians were living with HIV/AIDS; among populations at greatest risk, an estimated 42 percent were infected.

Dourado was on the faculty at the Federal University of Bahia in 1989 when she took leave to study at UCLA, earning her doctorate through the AITRP.

"AIDS was becoming a major public-health problem in Brazil. My intention was always to come back after my Ph.D. and be involved in AIDS prevention, to contribute to the scientific advancement here in Brazil," she says, sitting in her office on the fourth floor of the university’s Instituto de Saúde Coletiva (Collective Health Institute), where she lectures on epidemiology. As she speaks on this hot, humid afternoon in October, the thumping of drums mixed with the sounds of people performing capoeira — a cross between a martial art and dance created 400 years ago by slaves — filters up from the streets of Salvador da Bahia. The air of this city at the hub of Afro-Brazilian culture is thick with the smell of acarajé, a local delicacy of bean mixture and dende oil cooked on street corners by Baianas — dark-skinned local women dressed in heavy, white lace.


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