CLCDG researcher, Jennifer McCullough shares her work on ART adherence and CD4 cell count at the American Public Health Association Meeting in San Diego, CA

CLCDG researcher, Jennifer McCullough shares her work on ART adherence and CD4 cell count at the American Public Health Association Meeting in San Diego, CA

Overview

work in HIV seeks to reduce HIV infection and its associated morbidity and mortality in children. We conduct research to identify barriers to caregivers being staying in HIV care (retention) to receive continuous treatment. These factors have included stigma, transportation challenges, caregiver burden, and caring for sick babies. We also focus on identifying interventions that will reduce retention and improve maternal CD4 cell count.

In one study, we demonstrated that the odds of having a high CD4 cell count was over three times higher among those who attended two or more antiretroviral counseling sessions with a support person (called a monitor) compared to those who did not. We also showed that the choice of an adherence support person (such as a husband or friend) is not related to high CD4 cell count for patients. Our researchers have recommended that to increase the wellbeing of pregnant and postpartum women living with HIV, efforts should focus on increase the proportion of women attending two or more counseling session with a monitor.

We have also published research on the challenges caregivers with low birthweight face in adhering to antiretroviral therapy and retention.

Currently, we are implementing a cohort study to examine the effect of low birthweight and preterm birth on adherence to ART and retention in HIV care among postpartum women living with HIV in Ghana. The project is being funded by the National Institutes of Health, USA.