HIV Research in the Time of COVID: Chunyan Li Studies Barriers to PrEP in Guangdong and a Unique Intervention

release date:2023-02-06 11:42

HIV Research in the Time of COVID: Chunyan Li Studies Barriers to PrEP in Guangdong and a Unique Intervention

Chunyan Li is a social and behavioral researcher in the Department of Health Behavior at the Gillings School of Global Public Health applying socially innovative and community-engaged approaches to promote public health in global settings. For her dissertation, she worked for the UNC Project-China to assess  barriers to PrEP in the province of Guangdong. She also tested a phone app intervention to improve HIV/sexual health care.

Guangzhou is Located in the Guangdong-Hong Kong Macao Greater Bay Area. (Map Credit: CGTN News)
LI chunyan
The Guangdong province is a major economic powerhouse for China and a global manufacturing Hub, facing the South China Sea to the southeast. As one of the earliest trading ports in Chinese history, Guangdong is the starting point of the "Maritime Silk Road". Today its capital Guangzhou attracts millions of domestic and international migrants who come to the city to build their lives. By the end of 2021, Guangzhou was home to 18.8 million people, with nearly 50% being young domestic migrant workers. More than 80,000 non-Chinese residents lived in Guangzhou before the COVID-19 pandemic, although this number likely decreased significantly due to China strict COVID policy.

With support from her academic advisor Dr. Kate Muessig in the Department of Health Behavior, building on the HIV PrEP research projects of Dr. Joeseph Tucker through UNC Project-China and the UNC Institute for Global Health & Infectious Diseases, Chunyan Li focused her dissertation on HIV prevention among Chinese men who have sex with men (MSM) living in the Guangzhou area. She specifically focused on the intention and experience of Chinese MSM using PrEP for HIV prevention and considered how a crowdsourced mobile phone-based application would help to increase actual PrEP initiation by MSM. This research was part of a bigger muti-site PrEP demonstration project in China that aims to recruit 1,200 at risk individuals to start using PrEP. 

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