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Center for Health, Identity, Behavior & Prevention Studies

Current Research Studies

NJ QVax

Full Name: NJ LGBTQ Vaccine Uptake and Hesitancy (NJ QVax)
Institution: Rutgers School of Public Health
Funding: Merck
Multiple Principal Investigator’s: Perry N. Halkitis, PhD, MS, MPH & Kristen D. Krause, PhD, MPH
Description: In the United States, Sexual and Gender Minority (e.g., LGBTQ) individuals experience a preponderance of health disparities. These health challenges are predicated on the chronic marginalization and discrimination, some of which are state sanctioned, experienced by the population, and are coupled with a healthcare workforce that is inadequately prepared to effectively address the specific health needs of the population. The myriad health challenges faced by SGM individuals are magnified due to hardships in accessing adequate and competent healthcare that serves the unique needs of this population. Contributing factors to inadequate care include overall lack of provider knowledge on healthcare needs, history of stigmatizing experiences in the healthcare setting, and discomfort around discussing sexual orientation and/or sexual behaviors. Because of these conditions, 18% SGM Americans avoid receiving healthcare in fear of being discriminated or treated poorly. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, these disparities have been amplified with emerging reports suggesting that SGM individuals may be particularly vulnerable to the effects of the virus. While increasing access to the COVID-19 vaccine is critical to inoculation efforts, there is widespread vaccine hesitancy among adults in the United States, particularly among African American and Hispanic individuals. There is limited information on vaccination attitudes and hesitation among SGM communities, and most of what is available is focused specifically on Human Papillomavirus (HPV)-vaccination uptake. As such, the proposed study seeks to expand knowledge on overall vaccine hesitancy (including COVID-19) and the role of medical mistrust in vaccine uptake among SGM adults in New Jersey. TO FIND OUT MORE & DETERMINE ELIGIBILITY: https://bit.ly/3xP3lG4

Project HATCH (HPV and Trans Community Health)

Full Name: A mixed-methods exploration of human papillomavirus prevention, screening, knowledge, and risk among transgender individuals in New Jersey
Funding: New Jersey Commission on Cancer Research (NJCCR); New Jersey Alliance for Clinical and Translational Science (NJ ACTS)
Principal Investigator: Caleb LoSchiavo, MPH
Co-Investigator: Perry Halkitis, PhD, MS, MPH
Description: The purpose of this mixed-methods research study is to explore how transgender adults in New Jersey experience healthcare related to human papillomavirus (HPV). The information from this project will allow us to better understand the barriers and facilitators to transgender individuals’ engagement with HPV-related healthcare, and will inform development of interventions to increase uptake of HPV-related cancer prevention through screening and vaccination. The specific aims of this study are to: 1) assess barriers and facilitators to HPV prevention and care through qualitative interviews; 2) describe state of HPV prevention, care, knowledge, and risk factors through quantitative surveys; and 3) identify demographic, psychosocial, behavioral, and transition-related correlates of HPV prevention, care, knowledge, and risk through quantitative surveys.
Learn more: Click here to learn more about this study and see if you are eligible to participate.

HIV-HPV CARE (Control, Awareness, Research, and Eradication) Study

Full Name: HPV prevention, testing, and follow-up care among individuals at risk for or living with HIV in Newark, New Jersey
Institution: Rutgers School of Public Health
Funding: New Jersey Commission on Cancer Research (NJCCR)
Principal Investigator: Kristen D. Krause, PhD, MPH
Co-PI: Adana Llanos Wilson, PhD, MPH & Jennifer Tsui, PhD, MPH
Co-Investigators: Perry Halkitis, PhD, MS, MPH; Peter Oates, RN, MSN, NP-C, ACRN; Caleb LoSchiavo, MPH
Description: In the proposed pilot study, we will address gaps in knowledge around HPV testing in high-risk, vulnerable populations in New Jersey, through the following aims: 1) Determine the prevalence and patterns of HPV prevention, testing and follow-up among individuals at risk for or living with HIV and assess acceptability of self-collected oral, anal, and cervical samples for HPV testing in Newark, New Jersey; 2) Examine HPV infection prevalence and distribution of type-specific HPV infection among oral, anal, and cervical specimens collected through self-sampling among in individuals at risk for or living with HIV in Newark, New Jersey; and 3) Assess patterns of and barriers/facilitators to follow-up care after HPV testing for individual at risk for or living with HIV within HIV clinics in Newark, New Jersey.