San Diego State University (SDSU) Graduate School of Public Health faculty, Dr. Susan Kiene, was recently awarded a five-year R01 from the National Institute of Mental Health for a study titled, “Enhanced Linkage to HIV Care Following Home-Based HIV Testing in Rural Uganda”. The study, which will be conducted in partnership with Makerere University School of Public Health in Uganda, will test an intervention to improve linkage to HIV care and treatment for people with new HIV diagnoses during community-wide in-home HIV testing and counseling. They expect to test about 10,000 people as part of the project, some of which will participate in the intervention trial. They will evaluate the effect of the intervention on reducing HIV viral load, thus reducing infectivity, at both individual and population levels. They will also estimate the cost-effectiveness of the intervention relative to the standard-of-care for linkage to care. The study is timely as NIH recently issued their Trans-NIH Plan for HIV‑Related Research which names linkage to care as a key component of research on the optimization of therapeutics area of emphasis.
This project builds on over seven years of collaboration between Dr. Kiene, Makerere University School of Public Health, and Butambala Health sub-District in Uganda and it will provide numerous opportunities for SDSU and Makerere Public Health students.