The research I participated in this summer was focused on women and PrEP with the goal of increasing PrEP awareness and adherence among women who are likely to contract HIV. The content consisted of designing an intervention that addressed the barriers and facilitators of PrEP adherence and education while providing women with resources for the promotion of their sexual health. Through this research, I learned that sociobehavioral research is unpredictable yet enlightening, as there is so much that is not in the researchers control. I also learned that HIV stigma among minority populations prevents the adherence of pills like PrEP and PEP. An especially engaging part of the research was engaging in recruitment of participants for our pilot study as women showed interest in contributing to women’s health.
In terms of educational experience, I was able to witness active community health engagement at the HIV Prevention Summit where community members came together to dispel HIV stigma and spread awareness on the city’s many services. Additionally, participating in a Community Advisor Board allowed me to witness how woman want to take control of their health regardless of their partners preference. Attending this meeting helped me to see that nurses are not limited to working in the hospital setting and that research is a means to build strong bonds with communities since most of the women had been in a previous part of the study. Overall, I learned that the most effective means to improve women's health is through empowerment.