Elon alumni and professor present at the International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam

Sarah Alger ’17 and Samantha Perry’18 joined Professor Cynthia Fair in the Department of Public Health Studies at the 22nd International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam where the group presented research. 

Sarah Alger ’17 and Samantha Perry’18 partnered with Professor Cynthia Fair in the Department of Public Health Studies to present research at the 22nd International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam held July 23-27. 

The conference included more than 15,000 researchers, activists, and policymakers from more than 60 countries focused on the global response to AIDS.

Alger, currently a graduate student in the Milken Institute School of Public Health at The George Washington University, presented research originally started by Eliza Gibson ’13 focused on internationally adopted children with HIV.  Her presentation was titled “Internationally adopted children with HIV in the U.S.: Exploring parent and provider views on anticipated sexual and reproductive health challenges in adolescence.” Fair and Alger also presented, “’These families did their research:’ A qualitative study of healthcare provider perspectives of US families who internationally adopt children with HIV.”

“It was an honor to present research alongside leading HIV/AIDS professionals on the global scale,” Alger said. “To share the space and to learn from such renowned researchers and advocates was truly a momentous experience.  After attending, I feel more connected to a strong community devoted to tackling the AIDS epidemic, which further drives my career aspiration to reduce the global burden of disease and to tackle health inequities.”

Perry presented her Elon College Fellows and Lumen Prize research titled “Insiders, Outsiders and Intermediaries: Village Health Teams’ negotiation of roles to provide high-quality HIV care in Nakaseke Uganda.”  Co-authors included Sahai Burrowes from Touro University, Sarah Jane Holcombe from University of California, Berkeley, and Robert Kalyesubula of the University College of Health Sciences, Kampala, Uganda. Perry enters the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration to August to pursue her master’s degree in social work. 

“It was exhilarating to be in a conference facility with thousands of other researchers, activists, health care practitioners, politicians, and NGO leaders – all striving for a world without AIDS,” Perry said. “A world in which all people, especially those most vulnerable, can not only access services, but be treated with dignity and value. The most meaningful moments were seeing how my research fits into current, critical conversations happening within the field. My study does not exist in isolation, but is working in concert with other studies to inform both policy and practice within the AIDS realm.”

Amanda Bingaman ’20, an Honors and Lumen Scholar, also attended as her research focuses on the adoption and HIV disclosure narratives of internationally adopted children living with HIV.  “Attending this conference expanded my knowledge of the field considerably,” Bingaman said. “I have a greater understanding of the social and medical facets of HIV, which I can apply to my own research. It was amazing to see all of the conference participants come together to address different aspects of HIV. It put what I am doing in perspective and I left every day of the conference feeling invigorated.”

According to Fair, “presenting at the International AIDS Conference with Elon alumni is one of my proudest moments as a researcher and mentor. There were no other presentations on internationally adopted children and the conference was abuzz with ways to further support lay health workers who are being asked to shoulder the brunt of many health interventions in low andmiddle-incomee countries. Our research addressed clinically meaningful questions.”