Yale School of Nursing, Yale University's Graduate Nursing Programs

Federal Grant to Improve HIV Treatment in China

September 1, 2009

Ann Williams, Xianhong Li, Shan Liu.Improving HIV/AIDS medication adherence and preventing drug-resistant strains of the virus is the goal of a new grant awarded to Yale University School of Nursing (YSN) Professor Ann Williams, EdD, RNC, FAAN.

Williams will co-direct a study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for a groundbreaking study to help patients take HIV/AIDS medications correctly. The new study will adapt a nursing intervention that was proved to increase the ability of AIDS patients in New Haven to take their medication correctly. The project builds on a long-term collaboration in HIV/AIDS treatment and care between the Yale-China Association, Yale University School of Nursing, and partners in Changsha, Hunan province.

The study will be co-led by Professor Honghong Wang of the Central South University School of Nursing in Changsha, Hunan province. Other partners in the grant include the Yale-China Association, a private, nonprofit organization based on the Yale campus, and the Hunan Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Professor Wang is an alumna of the Yale-China Association China Fellowship Program.

Since China first documented the presence of HIV in 1989, the AIDS epidemic has spread rapidly and widely throughout the country. Currently, an estimated 700,000 people in China are living with HIV. In response to the growing number of new infections, the Chinese government launched the China CARES program, which provides free HIV/AIDS medications for those in need. However, if patients fail to take their medications correctly, the virus may develop resistance to the medications, making them ineffective in the future and for other patients subsequently infected by the drug resistant virus.

Ann Williams is the Martha Prosser Jayne Professor of Nursing at YSN, Professor at Yale School of Medicine, and Guest Professor in the Department of Nursing at Xiangya Medical University, Central South University, Changsha, PRC. She designed and conducted some of the earliest studies of HIV/AIDS risk behaviors among injection drug users and their sexual partners. Her work tested interventions to reduce HIV transmission, improve the health status of women with HIV, and increase patient adherence to antiretroviral medication. Her current research focuses on understanding the social and behavioral aspects of medication adherence among HIV-infected individuals and on designing and evaluating theory-based interventions to assist patients in improving their success with anti-retroviral medications.

The Yale-China Association's history of health work in China began 12 years ago, before HIV/AIDS was recognized as a problem in China, when the Association founded medical institutions in Hunan province that remain major centers of medical education and care. Its most recent work focuses on improving the ability of patients to adhere to difficult antiretroviral medication regimens and on improving the ability to effectively screen for ophthalmologic complications of HIV. To learn more about Yale-China, visit www.yalechina.org.

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