Dr. Amanda Tanner (Public Health Education) received new funding from Wake Forest University for the project “Harnessing the power of peer navigation and mHealth to reduce health disparities in Appalachia.”
Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (GBMSM) and transgender women in Appalachia are disproportionately affected by HIV, HCV, and STIs. Currently, no efficacious intervention exists to address these intersecting epidemics. The goals of this project are to refine, test, and disseminate findings from a culturally congruent, bilingual social network intervention designed to reduce HIV, HCV, and STI in Appalachia among Black, Latinx, and White GBMSM and transgender women, populations that carry a disproportionate disease burden in the region. The intervention harnesses the complementary strengths of two evidence-based strategies to promote and support linkages to prevention and care services: informal natural helping through community-based lay peer navigators and social media/mHealth. These strategies are particularly well suited to address the health challenges facing rural Appalachian populations.
This study will advance the field of prevention research and practice through the refinement and testing of an intervention for GBMSM and transgender women living in rural Appalachia. Study results and products will include: (1) a culturally congruent, bilingual social network intervention to promote and support linkages to HIV, HVC, and STI prevention and care services among GBMSM and transgender women that may be transferable to other rural populations; and (2) a set of research, intervention, and policy priorities to improve the health of GBMSM and transgender women living in rural Appalachia that will be disseminated to inform public health practice, research, and policy.