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Student & Alumni Achievements

Student & Alumni Achievements

Penn State: DrPH Student Presents HIV/AIDS Research at Global Health Conference

Ms. Anna E. Ssentongo, a Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) student at the Penn State College of Medicine, presented research at Yale University on the risk factors associated with the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS among women living in the Ivory Coast. Her poster presentation — “The Prevalence of Human Immunodeficiency Virus and its Sociodemographic, Knowledge, and Behavioral Predictors Among Women: A Cross-Sectional Population-Based Survey in the Ivory Coast” — was part of the 2019 Global Health & Innovation Conference (GHIC) in Connecticut earlier this month.

Ms. Ssentongo’s research analyzes National Health Survey Data and looks at the prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and social determinants of health in women in the West African country. Her work examines risk factors associated with HIV infection among this population and looks at how these factors could inform prevention strategies. Findings show that women living in urban areas and those who were older, widowed, divorced or separated from their partners were at a higher risk for acquiring HIV.

Findings also revealed that those who listened to the radio were more likely to be HIV positive. Therefore, investing in radio ads could prove to be an effective way to educate the masses about HIV prevention.

“I am grateful to have attended this conference and collaborated with other global health leaders,” said Ssentongo. “Global health investors from the Ivory Coast and 54 other countries attended this event, so sharing this information may help create future collaborations to set up prevention programs,” she adds.

Since the acceptance of her abstract, Ms. Ssentongo’s work has also been published in the Journal of Prevention & Treatment of HIV/AIDS.