LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Nearly two dozen University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences faculty, students and alumni will share new knowledge through both oral and poster presentations, as well as roundtable discussions, at the American Public Health Association (APHA) annual meeting and expo this week in Denver, Colo.
The UofL posters focus on a variety of topics ranging from an analysis of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness Syringe Exchange Program to an assessment of increasing access to HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP – a way for people who are at substantial risk of contracting HIV to better prevent the infection by taking a daily pill medication.
The PrEP study, led by public health students Baraka Muvuka, M.P.H., Aneshia Gray, M.P.H., Camila Aramburu, M.P.H., Rishtya M. Kakar, M.B.B.S., M.P.H. and Suur D. Ayangeakaa, M.P.H., explored the knowledge and attitudes of physicians towards HIV PrEP. Their presentation is part of today’s Behavioral Science/Health Education Roundtable.
Data was collected through surveys distributed to a sample of family and internal medicine physicians, and medical students. While 87 percent of all respondents supported the use of PrEP to prevent HIV among those at high-risk, only 12 percent of practicing physicians have prescribed PrEP, citing a lack of clinical knowledge as the main reason.
High demands on physician time, high costs and potential patient toxicity were cited as the top three barriers to PrEP administration. The study contributes information to the potential design of an inter-professional clinical model for PrEP, involving primary care physicians and pharmacists to reduce barriers to PrEP administration through clinical education and improved inter-professional collaboration.
The APHA conference brings together more than 12,000 public health professionals to network, educate and share experiences. The theme of this year’s meeting, “Creating the Healthiest Nation: Ensuring the Right to Health,” underscores the work of UofL scholars.
“Our faculty, students and alumni are working to improve the health of all by advancing knowledge through research,” said UofL School of Public Health and Information Sciences Dean Craig Blakely, Ph.D., M.P.H. “I am pleased we have such a robust presence at this national meeting of our peers.”