Innovative social media program designed to keep HIV-affected people healthy

November 30, 2015

Dr. John Zurlo saw his first AIDS patients during his internal medicine residency training in 1984.

The mysterious new disease robbed patients of their ability to fight off infections. They developed an aggressive form of an unusual skin cancer, Kaposi’s sarcoma. Their mouths and throats were covered with oral thrush. They suffered from unusual forms of pneumonia and meningitis and often developed dementia.

Back then, “almost everybody died from AIDS,” says the physician, who went on to train in infectious diseases at the National Institutes of Health. Zurlo came to Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in 1990 and became director of the HIV/AIDS program later that decade. Today, as director of the infectious diseases training program, he still spends much of his time providing care to those with HIV -- the virus that leads to AIDS.

Zurlo is committed to changing the statistics across the full HIV care continuum, which actually starts with people who are at risk but not infected yet. His team recently received a $1.2 million grant from the federal government’s Health Resources and Services Administration, to use the power of social media to get more people between the ages of 13 to 34 into the HIV care continuum.

Learn more about the program in this Penn State Medicine article.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated November 30, 2015