CON doctoral student Marilyn Aluoch gets Fulbright research grant to Ghana

With a goal of improving HIV prevention programs in Ghana by improving nurse/patient interactions in clinics providing health services to gay men, USF College of Nursing doctoral student Marilyn Aluoch, ARNP, MSN, MPH, will work at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi as part of a Fulbright Research Grant.

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Aluoch, a family nurse practitioner, will spend nine months in Ghana and work under the direction of Thomas Agyarko-Poku, director of the Ashanti Region HIV/AIDS Directorate, Ghana Health Services, and co- investigator of Kumasi and Accra Project to Prevent AIDS, a multidimensional study focusing on HIV/AIDS prevention among Ghanaian men who have sex with men (MSM).

MSM have only recently gained recognition in the African HIV epidemic as an important population on which to target public health HIV prevention efforts.  In sub-Saharan Africa, about 1 in every 20 adults is living with HIV/AIDS, accounting for more than two-thirds of the 34.2 million people living with HIV globally. In spite of the 25 percent decrease in the HIV infection rates recorded from 2001 to 2011, the prevalence rates within the MSM population continued to upsurge in this region. In Ghana, while the HIV prevalence rate decreased from 2.3 percent to 1 percent between 2010 and 2012 in the general population, the prevalence rate among MSM was 17.5 percent in the same time period, indicating that MSM are 13 times more likely to be infected with HIV than the general population.