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Postdoctoral Fellow to Study the HIV-Violence Relationship among African Americans

Posted: 2/3/2010

Veronica Njie-Carr, PhD, APRN, BC, a postdoctoral fellow at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, has received a grant to study the experiences and perceptions of intimate partner violence among HIV-positive African-American women and African-American men.

The one-year pilot grant award of $15,000 is from the Center for Health Disparities Solutions of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, a Center of Excellence in Minority Health and Health Disparities supported by a National Institutes of Health grant.

The study will be the first phase of a larger research project. Through in-depth interviews with 20 subjects, 10 African-American women who experience intimate partner violence and 10 African-American male perpetrators, Njie-Carr plans to generate preliminary data and test the feasibility for further research. There are limited studies examining the roles and perspectives of male perpetrators in women's experiences of violence, she said.

The goal is to help increase sustainable HIV-prevention behaviors, and reduce health disparities among those at risk for or living with HIV and AIDS, she said.

"To design effective and sustainable HIV prevention interventions, we need to integrate important contextual factors," said Njie-Carr, who aims to uncover important risk factors experienced by African-American women, such as gender inequities and power imbalances, which tend to put them at greater risk for HIV infection. The roles of African-American men who perpetrate violence -- and may or may not be HIV-positive -- will also be explored to fully examine the context of the women's experiences.

Although much progress has been made in the treatment and care of HIV and AIDS, African Americans are still disproportionately affected by the disease and are eight times more likely to die of the disease. Little research has focused on the cultural and social context of the disease among this population, Njie-Carr said.

Njie-Carr will be working on this project with her faculty mentor, Nancy Glass, PhD, RN, FAAN, associate director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health and Sarah Szanton, PhD, RN, Health Disparities Center Solutions faculty collaborator.