What happens if you pay members of populations at very high risk of contracting or spreading HIV to engage in risk-reducing behavior? Professor Omar Galárraga explores the potential effectiveness of economic incentives, and other behavioral economics innovations, to prevent and treat HIV and other chronic conditions in Mexico City. His findings suggest that incentives can reduce risky sexual behavior and improve rates of engagement with healthcare services.
What are the factors that prevent Brazilian youth from accessing antiretroviral therapy, the medication that controls HIV? Professor Matthew Mimiaga is conducting formative research with community advisory board members, key informants, and HIV infected adolescents in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to inform a behavioral intervention for improving adherence to antiretroviral therapy among this population. The resulting counseling- and technology-based HIV medication adherence intervention package will address inequalities among diverse ethnicities, sexual and gender minorities, and classes by addressing the structural (e.g., transportation to clinic visits, perceived healthcare discrimination) and individual-level (e.g., social support, psychosocial problems) barriers to adherence faced by many adolescents in this setting.
Professor Mimiaga is also engaged in a social network-based intervention to promote PrEP adherence among transgender women at risk for HIV infection in Lima, Peru. PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a highly effective daily medication that lowers the chance of HIV infection. In addition to daily PrEP, the intervention includes individual counseling, group workshops, and social network interactions. Once the intervention is developed, a pilot test will be conducted by randomizing social network-based clusters of transgender women.