UAlbany Professor Examines Reducing HIV Transmission Among Vulnerable Populations

ALBANY, N.Y. (August 19, 2015) -- Since its discovery, acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) has been linked to more than 36 million deaths. Despite numerous outreach efforts, the root cause of the syndrome, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), continues to spread, particularly among vulnerable populations.

Associate Professor Frank Dillon
School of Education Associate Professor Frank Dillon

University at Albany Associate Professor of Counseling Psychology Frank Dillon has been awarded $449,220 from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities to improve participation among Latino men in HIV testing initiatives. Dr. Dillon has partnered with the Alliance for Positive Health -- a community based organization in Albany dedicated to improving lives impacted by HIV/AIDS.

Four undergraduate students and one graduate student enrolled in health disparities-related programs of study at the University at Albany will be hired as research assistants for this project. The Undergraduate Health Disparity Research Fellowship positions are designed to increase the quality of training provided to future behavioral researchers conducting investigations on health disparities.

His project aims to understand the factors that disproportionately prevent Latino gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (LMSM) from participating in testing or otherwise being aware of their HIV status. The 3-year project aims to determine the combinations of individual, sociocultural and community-level factors that must be targeted within the LMSM community to maximize HIV testing and prevention efforts.

"Latino males represent an underserved population that is affected by delayed HIV testing and late entry to care," said Dillon, who joined UAlbany's School of Education in 2014. "Our findings will help inform the next generation of HIV testing campaigns by helping us better understand attitudes, behaviors, and community resources of Latino men, thereby fostering health promotion."

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