Practice English Speaking&Listening with: MIT Course: Evolution of an Epidemic

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Students from MIT will come with their own perspective.

I've never taken a class like this before.

This is what MIT does best-- bring people

with different strengths and interests

together and have them solve problems.

The most affected country is South Africa.

The most affected province in South Africa

is where we're sitting in KwaZulu-Natal.

The most important thing, post-apartheid,

that I could think about doing where I could make

a difference--


We left Boston-- traveled for about a day and a half--

finally got to Durban.

I had heard over and over South Africa's an amazing place

that I didn't expect it to be so green and so gorgeous.

Even when we're riding in the van

just looking out the window--

kind of imagining how life is different here

and appreciating that I get to experience a little bit of it.

It is a very, very good mix for the students

to have all this experience and to have all this knowledge

and to have all these discussions

and begin to develop their own ideas about what can be done.

I'm from Maine.

I'm from southern Maine.

If you are going to change society for the better,

solving the problem of HIV and TB

would require a global partnership.

We took 20 students to Durban and taught lecture, field


And it ended up being this very intensive course all about HIV.

We really needed to take them someplace where there are still

a lot of people who are sick and who are not on treatment

and are continuing to get infected to show them

what AIDS was like in the United States back in the '80s

when the epidemic first started.

Because it's so different in South Africa

than it is in America, I think that it's very important

to be here and talk to people-- just sort

of understand what it is that makes

the epidemic in South Africa different than the epidemic

in America.

Research is about asking questions and asking

the right questions.

If you ask the right question, that's half of the battle won.

We could also look at rural versus urban populations

and see whether they have different infrastructural needs

when it comes to preventing HIV and AIDS.

We're learning about the biological side--

how the epidemic occurs--

what causes it-- but also how different communities

are fighting it together.

Bring people from all these different backgrounds

and sit down and make a plan of how

we as a country-- as a community--

are really going to take a look at these problems holistically

instead of individually and attack them.

As a physician scientist, when I look back,

I think I will see HIV as being the call for my generation.

I genuinely believe that we can turn

the tide within my lifetime.

We still have 36 million people in the world

who are infected with HIV.

We still have areas where enormously high numbers

of young women are getting infected every single day.


FRESH is a program that recruits young, HIV uninfected women

in this region outside of Durban,

South Africa called Umlazi.

If you look at 14-year-old girls, less than 1%

are HIV infected.

But if you look at 24-year-old women, almost 60%

are HIV-infected.

So as scientists, we're so focused on the biology

of the problem-- that we don't think about the fact

that even if it works perfectly in a tissue culture or Petri

dish, if people can't use it in the real world,

it has no real value.

So the opportunity to interact with the participants

and hear back from them has really informed our science

and has been a really valuable part of the study.

We founded this organization, iTEACH.

It stands for Integration of TB in Education and Care

for HIV and AIDS.

We're now screening 85% to 95% of all patients who

come to this hospital for HIV and TB.

We diagnose 300 new cases of pulmonary TB

every single month here at the hospital.

This is the only place in the world where

Western medicine and traditional healers and sangomas

have really united to fight against HIV.

And I think it's just really spectacular what you're doing.

I think what made it so special was the singing and dancing

after dinner, because you don't need to really communicate well

for that.

You just need to dance the way they're dancing,

sing the way that they're singing,

and wear the gifts that they gave us.

First they wrapped the traditional cloth around us.

And they dragged us up and, like, forced

us to start dancing.

And it was, like, this footstep movement

with lots of stamping and stuff.

Trying out the traditional food and getting to

sing and dance with them--

I think it's the most fun thing we've done so far.

I don't think it's a secret.

Everybody knows only the smartest people get to MIT.

And so the expectation is that these are

the best minds in the world.

And if these best minds can apply their minds

to the biggest and most challenging

issues of the world, certainly, it can be a much better place.

You can't imagine this.

You have to come here.

The need to change our society,

the need to make the world a better place,

is not in the domain of politicians and lawyers

and sociologists only.

It's all of us.

And as scientists, we have a big role to play.

Every discipline has something to contribute.

So regardless of what field somebody ends up going into,

there's a critical role for everybody

in dealing with these type of global issues.

I'm hoping to walk away with a bit of perspective--

being able to learn a bit more about ways that we as Americans

and me as an individual can make the treatment

a little bit easier and more effective for people.

We're strangers.

They don't know us.

We don't know them.

But they just accepted us.

And knowing that we come from very different cultures--

knowing that we probably don't believe in the things

they believe in, but still they respected that.

And we respected their culture, obviously.

That was the part where we just really came together.

It was pretty awesome.




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