UGR Blog Post 3

Since the beginning of the semester we have made a great deal of progress with our research. In January I completed a literature review of some of the previously published research on the topic of HIV/AIDS studies on a college campus. I was very interested to learn that there was not much research done at an urban university such as Pace! We found that overwhelmingly, previous research has shown that while college students are fairly knowledgeable about HIV/AIDS, and have little concern with contracting the virus, they do not take the appropriate safe sex precautions to protect against transmission. Moreover, college students appear to be about as knowledgeable on HIV/AIDS as the average American, and slightly more knowledgeable than teenagers. Students have a basic understanding of the treatments for HIV and how HIV can lead to AIDS. Much of the current gaps in knowledge surround HIV testing and transmission. Many students, based on their belief that they are unable to contract HIV, have never been tested.

Based on the findings in the literature review we created a survey that touches upon 4 different topics: Knowledge of HIV/AIDS, HIV/AIDS Stigma, Testing Behavior, and Sexual Practice. These four categories will give us a comprehensive understanding of the current climate surrounding HIV/AIDS at Pace. Once the survey was completed we sent it for IRB approval and were happy to receive approval at the end of February! Now we are sending out the survey to as many Pace students as we can. At this time we have approximately 170 responses and we will be accepting responses for the rest of the month!

During the course of our research we have experienced an abundance of successes but also a few challenges. Our main challenge thus far was creating the survey and obtaining IRB approval. We went through many iterations of the survey before our final draft. We wanted to make the questions clear and relevant, while also protecting the anonymity of the students due to the sensitive nature of the questions. Once we crafted the survey and sent it to the IRB they had a few notes/edits for us before it was approved! I think one of our biggest success is simply getting this survey off the ground since research like this has not been done before at Pace!

Based on the survey responses so far I have learned that not very many Pace students are familiar with PeP and PrEP. These are two essential preventative measures in combating HIV and it is important that students are aware of them and where they can access them. I also thought it was interesting that a large portion of respondents did not know that HIV can become “undetectable” with the correct treatment and time.

I am very excited to obtain more responses and dive deeper into how we can use this information to help the community at Pace!

Perceptions and Knowledge of HIV/AIDS on a College Campus. Semester Blog 2

This year I will take a comprehensive look into the perceptions, assumptions, and knowledge of HIV/AIDS on a college campus. The research will survey college students, primarily at Pace University NYC, to gain a better understanding of their knowledge of HIV & AIDS. Once we have gathered and analyzed the data, we will use this information to create a workshop on HIV/AIDS prevention and education that can be presented to Pace students and staff.

I am interested in this area of research because of my experiences at the Pace LGBTQA and Social Justice Center. I currently work at the Center as a Student Assistant where I am able to meet and interact with many students at Pace. As a result, I have seen a strong disconnect between the students’ perceptions and ideas surrounding HIV/AIDS, and the information that is actually true. Furthermore, as a student I have found that this is not a conversation that is happening on campus, but the need to educate students still exists. Only after I looked into the research myself was I able to see how little I knew about HIV/AIDS and the stigma that surrounds it. Lastly, Pace does not offer “pre-exposure prophylaxis” (PrEP) or “post-exposure prophylaxis” (PEP) at the University Health Center. These are two HIV prevention strategies that can be potentially life-saving to those who are exposed to HIV. It is my hope that the results of this research will demonstrate the need for these medications on campus and push Pace to provide them for students.

While there is a great deal of information on HIV/AIDS in academia, not a lot of research has been done on college campuses specifically, which makes this research that much more important. Overall, rates of HIV infection have declined in recent years, but the rates of invention among young adults has not seen a proportional reduction. A study completed at a Midwestern university in 2009 showed that while 77% of students reported that they were “very familiar with HIV/AIDS” many had clear misconceptions about transmission and prevention, including 14% of the students reporting that HIV can be transmitted via mosquito bite. Moreover, college students are among the highest demographic with a prevalence for risky sexual behavior, but many students do not perceive themselves to be at risk. Concurrently, the 1980s AIDS epidemic in New York provides a great deal of social context for my research. It is unfortunate that much of the negative stigma surrounding the virus still exists today. I expect to see this reflected in our research, but hope to change these feelings through the final workshop. It is clear that more research needs to be done in regards to this population in order to appropriately educate students. Since there have not been many studies completed with a focus on college students, my research will aid in closing this gap.

The first step in the research is to develop a comprehensive questionnaire. These questions will help to see how much students know (or think they know) about HIV/AIDS. Additionally, the survey will ask questions about perceptions of contracting and transmitting the virus. Once enough data has been obtained, I will be able to better understand the areas that need to be addressed. From this I will work to develop a presentation that will educate students on the truth, and resolve many of their misconceptions. The workshop will be presented to a group of students and they will be surveyed before and after to test for effectiveness. I hope the research and workshop will help in changing students’ perceptions and allowing Pace to better serve it’s community.

Navarro/Coppola Blog 1

The purpose of this research project for the 2017-2018 academic year is to study, analyze, and, explore how technology and older adults (ages 60+) interact. As of now, the focus is primarily relating to how technology can be utilized by older adults in regards to their overall health and well being. This includes using digital monitoring devices to obtain information such as oxygen levels, blood pressure, and heart rate. Once these vitals are taken, they can be digitally sent and stored in an online portal that can be accessed by the patient, or primary care physician, at a later time. An understanding of these vitals is important in providing proactive treatment of serious issues that can arise including strokes and heart attacks. Previous research has shown that older adults are willing and eager to utilize technology, and this project will further explore the benefits of interconnecting this population with today’s technological advancements. The working title for this project is “Digital Health Education for Seniors.”

From this project, a better understanding of exactly how digital health education can be beneficial to this population will be obtained. This research will allow us to learn more about the ever-growing relationship between senior citizens and technology. Are they willing to accept and utilize this technology for a specific purpose? How quickly can they adapt to new software/hardware? In what ways do they learn best? How can an overall understanding of their health lead to a better of quality of life? All of these questions will be addressed and investigated during the course of the project.

A number of different methods will be used in order to accomplish this project. Most notably, partnership with Senior centers (tentatively Carter Burden Network and Brookdale) will be used in order to access the target population. Additionally, the research team with partner with Vital Care Services, an organization that specializes in digital health management and collaboration. A comprehensive test will be given at the beginning and end of the research so that the success rate can be examined. The research will consist of frequent and consistent monitoring of older adults and their relationship with new technology, ideas, and practices. At the end of the project, a better understanding of this population and their needs will be found.