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Phinney's HIV research moves forward

Written by Mike Thee
February 2, 2010

Harriet Phinney, anthropology lecturer, is part of a team of medical anthropologists that has received $47,408 planning grant from the National Institutes of Health. The funding allows them to continue to examine gendered inequalities among HIV patients when it comes to receiving treatment. 

“The expansion of antiretroviral therapy (ART) towards a goal of universal access represents a promising moment in the history of global health,” the team’s project description reads. However, as the summary continues, access alone does not guarantee treatment. 

“Recent studies indicate, not surprisingly, that men are the last to take up ART and the first to drop out,” says Phinney. “It is an interesting paradox that men who typically have more resources and mobility than women are less likely to obtain treatment and stay on treatment.”  

The study will be ethnographic in nature, involving patients in Vietnam, where Phinney works, as well as Nigeria, Uganda, Papua New Guinea and New York City. 

This latest effort builds upon previous research that Phinney and her colleagues have been conducting since 2003 when they received their first NIH grant for a project titled “Love, Marriage and HIV.” The team has also collaborated to author The Secret: Love Marriage and HIV, was just published by Vanderbilt Press.