News Release: Research , School of Nursing , School of Public Health , Woodruff Health Sciences

Nov. 30,  2011

Emory Researcher Receives NIH Grant to Study HIV-Related Health Disparities

Grant Underscores Importance of National HIV/AIDS Strategy, World AIDS Day

News Article ImageDrenna Waldrop-Valverde, PhD, principal investigator

Emory University's School of Nursing has received a five-year, $2.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study the effects of health literacy on medication compliance among African Americans living with HIV/AIDS.  

Drenna Waldrop-Valverde, PhD, who holds dual faculty appointments in the School of Nursing and the Rollins School of Public Health, serves as the principal investigator of the study.  

"Over the next five years, our goal is to determine if African Americans living with HIV/AIDS may be more likely to misunderstand their medication instructions because of poor health literacy skills, putting them at greater risk for advanced disease,' says Waldrop-Valverde, who also is an investigator at the Center for AIDS Research at Emory.  

This study is part of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which is the nation’s first comprehensive HIV/AIDS roadmap with measurable goals, which include reducing new HIV infections, increasing access to care and reducing HIV-related health disparities. African Americans are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS. Although they comprise only 13 percent of the U.S. population, African Americans account for nearly half of the people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. As compared to other ethnicities, African Americans with HIV/AIDS have shorter survival times and more deaths.  

"Although a number of studies have examined associated risks for disparate disease outcomes among African Americans, far fewer studies have investigated the role of health literacy and specific health-promoting behaviors on health disparities,” says Waldrop-Valverde. “We believe this research holds promise in reducing HIV-related health disparities.' 

This is the fourth NIH grant awarded to Waldrop-Valverde to study treatment adherence issues among HIV/AIDS patients. Waldrop-Valverde’s primary research focuses on health literacy and HIV associated neurocognitive disorders and their effect on self-management abilities, particularly medication adherence and engagement in care. She also studies, cognitive rehabilitation and health disparities.


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