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Faculty & Staff Honors

Faculty & Staff Honors

South Carolina: Epidemiology Assistant Professor Monique Brown Wins Grant to Improve Health of Older Adults Living with HIV

Dr. Monique Brown, an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health, has won a four-year, $615K K01 Mentored Research Scientist Career Development Award from the National Institute of Mental Health. She will use the funding to advance her research expertise through various trainings (e.g., mixed methods research approaches, trauma-focused interventions) while conducting an HIV-related study. Committed to HIV-related research throughout her life, Dr. Brown’s K01 study will build on her previous projects by developing a trauma-focused intervention for older adults living with HIV.

“HIV/AIDS [human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome] continues to be a major public health issue for older adults,” says Dr. Brown, who notes that by 2020 an estimated 50 to 70 percent of people living with HIV in the U.S. will be age 50 and older. “Research has shown that childhood sexual abuse, depressive symptoms and substance use are common among older people living with HIV, however, intervention research, especially those that are trauma-focused, are truly limited among older people living with HIV.”

Childhood sexual abuse rates may range from 16 to 22 percent for this population, and close to four in 10 older adults with HIV report depressive symptoms. Previous research has shown a positive association between childhood sexual abuse and depressive symptoms and a negative association between depression and HIV treatment outcomes (e.g., antiretroviral therapy adherence). Former studies have also demonstrated the effectiveness of group interventions to improve coping among adults who experienced childhood sexual abuse, yet none have done so in the context of aging with HIV.

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