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Cindy Fair, two young alumni publish research on HIV/AIDS issues

The professor of human service studies worked with Lauren Taylor '10 and Jamie Albright '13 on recently completed studies that have been published or presented to international audiences.

Professor Cindy Fair in the Department of Human Service Studies has worked with two young alumni in recent years on research that has recently been published or presented to social workers, medical providers, clinicians and advocates of public health, both domestic and abroad.

Those projects include:

·         Lauren Taylor '10 and Fair, along with Cheryl Nikodem from Stellenbosch University in South Africa, recently published an article titled "'Listen to us':  Hopes for the future for HIV-related maternal health care among healthcare providers in Cape Town, South Africa," in the Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health. The research was funded by the Lumen Prize, Elon College Fellows and the Ward Family Learning in Action Award.  Taylor is currently enrolled in Yale University’s certified nurse midwife program.

Two hundred forty-nine nurses, midwives, and nursing students enrolled in a South African university completed surveys as part of this qualitative cross-sectional study. Four primary strategies to improve HIV-related maternal care emerged from the data. These women’s health professionals suggested improving education, increasing grassroots-level participation by government officials, improving resources, and developing strategies aimed at decreasing the risk of secondary transmission of HIV.

·         Jamie Albright '13 and Fair presented at an American Public Health Association conference in Boston University. The presentation, “Providers caring for adolescents with perinatally-acquired HIV:  Current practices and barriers to communication about sexual and reproductive health,” was also funded by the Lumen Prize and Elon College Fellows. Albright is currently enrolled in the University of Virginia's Clinical Psychology doctoral program.
 
Adolescents with perinatally-acquired HIV (engage in developmentally expected sexual behavior. Many have high fertility desires/intentions and low knowledge of mother-to-child transmission, though little is known about the content of discussions of sexual and reproductive with their HIV healthcare providers.
This cross-sectional study involved the completion of an online survey by medical and social service providers and found the most frequently endorsed sexual and reproductive health topics discussed with both male and female patients were condom use (77.3%), STD prevention (73.1%), and screening (62.1%). Topics such as effects of STDs (21.2%) and HIV (7.6%) on fertility were infrequent. Females received significantly more education about sexual health and reproduction topics overall, though discussions about disclosure and condom use were similar for both sexes.
 
·         Albright and Fair, along with colleagues at Georgetown University, recently had an article titled “Medication adherence among youth with HIV: A case study of social work interventions” published in the Journal of Social Services and HIV/AIDS.

Within the United States, there are more than 40,000 youth, 13–24 years old, living with HIV infection. Adherence to antiretroviral medication among this population is critical to promote health and decrease the risk of secondary HIV transmission. However, only approximately one-third of adolescents adhere to their HIV medications. The article described a case study of the introduction of social work services to a cohort of high-risk youth who previously did not have access to a pediatric social worker. Three case examples are included to illustrate the wide array of family needs and strengths as well as social work interventions used to promote medication adherence as measured by immune functioning and viral load.
 
·         Albright and Fair worked on a paper titled "'Don’t Tell Him You Have HIV Unless He's "The One"': Romantic Relationships Among Adolescents and Young Adults with Perinatal HIV Infection" published in AIDS Patient Care and STDs. The research is based on Fair's sabbatical research as well as Albright’s Lumen Prize and Elon College Fellows research.
 
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 35 young adults living with perinatally acquired HIV recruited from two pediatric infectious disease clinics in the southeast United States. The majority of participants have dated and struggled with their HIV status in their intimate relationships. The majority of those who disclosed their HIV status to past partners had experienced some form of rejection. However, several participants reported receiving support upon disclosure. Some individuals had never disclosed to a romantic partner, but carefully managed intimacy by delaying dating, terminating relationships, and ‘‘taking it slow.’’ Advice fell into two broad categories: ‘‘be safe’’ which referred to the physical protection of self and partners, as well as emotional protection from possible rejection. The second advice category was basic encouragement which stressed the importance for young adults living with HIV to have hope that they would find a supportive partner and to be patient.

Eric Townsend,
Staff
3/27/2014 2:10 PM