This summer I worked on a project that studies and promotes the use of PrEP for women. PrEP is a daily medication that prevents the contraction of HIV. Historically in the United States, public health campaigns have mainly promoted PrEP to men who have sex with men and transgender women. The project I have been working on specifically focuses on women who are vulnerable to contracting HIV, in particular low-income women of color and women who inject drugs. The project has three phases: in-depth interviews of the target population, randomized clinical trial which has an intervention to promote PrEP uptake, and the development of an app for all women on PrEP.
I have had the opportunity to work on all three phases of the project and will be continuing to work on the project in the fall. Through this experience I have learned the expansiveness of research. I have had the opportunity to collect and analyze data, create activities in the intervention, contribute in the development of a health app, and in the future, I will be a HIV counselor for the intervention. There are many different moving pieces in research and everybody plays an important role. I will leave this research project with a greater understanding of cultural and structural factors that contribute to one’s health.