Schenita Randolph, PhD, MPH, RN, CNE, assistant professor, was recently awarded $102,339 from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) through the Duke NIH Centers for AIDS Research (CFAR) for her proposal entitled “Qualitative Study to Examine the Feasibility and Acceptability of a Beauty Salon-Based Intervention to Increase Awareness and Uptake of PrEP among Black Women Living in the United States Southeast,” through June 30, 2019. This project is an administrative supplement to year 14 of Dr. Kent Weinhold’s P30 award through Duke CFAR.
In the Triad and Triangle areas of North Carolina, the rate of black women living with HIV is 17 times that of white females. The purpose of Randolph’s study is to determine if the beauty salon is an appropriate place to reach black women for the sharing of women’s health information, specifically information about Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). PrEP is a pill for individuals who do not have HIV but who are at risk of getting HIV. It has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection by up to 92 percent when taken consistently.
In her study, Randolph will perform interviews with salon owners and conduct focus groups with hair salon stylists and black women who frequent salons. Her intent is to gain perspective about a salon-based intervention to sustain a program that ensures the improvement of women’s health outcomes, PrEP awareness and PrEP use for women at risk.
The results of the study will help researchers understand black women’s social networks and best practices on how to use their social networks to increase PrEP awareness and use. Additionally, the study will focus on how to address and overcome medical mistrust that has historically existed, and continues to be a barrier, for why black women choose not to use PrEP.
“This study engages trusted environments such as hair salons to determine black women’s perspectives about ways to address medical distrust, especially in the context of PrEP awareness and usage,” says Randolph. “To address such a barrier could begin conversations around PrEP among black women that will potentially have an impact on social networks and communities to learn about PrEP for HIV prevention.”
Information gained from Randolph’s study will help design a culturally and socially relevant intervention to increase awareness and use of PrEP among black women in the southeastern United States. Through engaging community members and partners, the results of the study aim to increase the possibility of finding ways to sustain programs to improve health outcomes.
Randolph is working with a multi-disciplinary group of professionals to conduct this research. Her team includes Michael Relf, PhD, RN, ACNS-BC, AACRN, CNE, FAAN, co-investigator, who utilizes mixed-methods to understand medical mistrust, experiences with everyday discrimination and HIV-related stigma; Mehri McKellar, MD, co-investigator and infectious disease physician and director of the Duke University PrEP clinic for HIV prevention; Carol Golin, MD, consultant, who focuses on understanding social and behavioral factors that drive the domestic HIV epidemic and using the knowledge to develop, implement and test intervtions to reduce HIV spread; and Rosa Gonzalez-Guarda, PhD, MPH, RN, CPH, FAAN, co-investigator, who has expertise in STI and HIV prevention, community-engaged research, mixed methods and culturally-tailored interventions.