School of Medicine Professor Conducts AIDS/HIV Treatment and Prevention Studies
Dr. Harold Katner, professor of infectious disease in the School of Medicine, has conducted extensive research focused on HIV/AIDS. Globally, more than 34.4 million people are living with HIV/AIDS, according to AIDS.gov. There is no cure for the disease.
Dr. Katner’s current project, which is funded by Johnson & Johnson, involves investigating the efficacy of a combination of HIV drugs that can suppress the virus. The standard treatment plan involves using three drugs, but Dr. Katner’s study investigates the effectiveness of using only two medications. “If we can do things like that, we can reduce side effects,” Dr. Katner said. He and his team recently presented an abstract on this study in Europe.
He has also conducted a study investigating the administration of prophylactic HIV drugs to victims of rape. “If you give medicines to people who are exposed to HIV, you can prevent transmission of the virus,” Dr. Katner said. Only 13 percent of the emergency rooms Dr. Katner questioned gave post-exposure prophylactics to victims of sexual assault. Through this study, he wants to encourage more hospitals to provide rape victims with medications to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Additionally, Dr. Katner has investigated the transmission of HIV/AIDS from infected women to their children as well as the origins of the virus itself. He has also overseen an HIV/AIDS prevention program in the Houston County school system for 25 years.