Impact of mobility on HIV continuum of care in Tennessee

As part of the renewal of the Tennessee Center for AIDS Research (TN CFAR) grant, VIGH core faculty members were awarded a supplement for the HIV Mobility and Engagement in Care in TN project. It will be directed by Aimalohi (Aima) Ahonkai, M.D., MPH, and Kate Clouse, PhD, MPH.

aima“I am very excited to collaborate with an amazing group of investigators at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC), Vanderbilt’s Initiative for Interdisciplinary Geospatial Research, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, Peabody College, and the Tennessee Department of Health (TDOH) to conduct seminal research characterizing mobility among people living with HIV in TN, and its impact on engagement in HIV care." - Aimalohi (Aima) Ahonkai, MD, MPH

The project connects Vanderbilt researchers across disciplines in order to understand how often people living with HIV move within or outside of the state, and if this mobility is associated with HIV outcomes.

Dr. Ahonkhai’s current work aims to design novel care delivery interventions to improve quality of HIV treatment in resource-limited settings, especially vulnerable populations. Much of her research has focused on populations in Nigeria and South Africa to assess quality of HIV care. Dr. Clouse also has an extensive background in designing and implementing HIV studies, with an emphasis on population mobility and engagement in HIV care in South Africa.

clouse“Mobility recently has gained attention as a potential barrier to engagement in HIV care. With NIH support through the TN CFAR, we are able to connect partners at VUMC, Vanderbilt and TDOH to explore population mobility among people living with HIV in Tennessee. This will help us develop tools to improve long-term engagement in HIV care among mobile populations.” - Kate Clouse, PhD, MPH


aima_figure1Currently, there is a gap in data exploring mobility among people living with HIV. Mobility often undermines efforts to end the HIV epidemic, as it disrupts continuous care and obstructs accurate outcome documentation for patients who move across borders. This research will address this novel topic with a multidisciplinary team with expertise in continuum of care research, mobility in HIV, geospatial analysis, qualitative methods, and surveillance of people living with HIV. Data from the Tennessee Department of Health and the Memphis tri-state region will be used in conjunction to complete the objectives. This includes characterizing interstate mobility as well as within Tennessee among people living with HIV and assessing the impact of mobility on engagement in HIV care.

The Tennessee Center for AIDS Research is supported by the National Institutes of Health.