The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Department of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences
Cancer Prevention Research Training Program
FLWH are 3-8 times more likely to be diagnosed with cervical cancer compared to HIV-negative females. Routine screening and risk-appropriate follow-up care for abnormal results are both needed for prevention and early detection of cervical cancer. Many FLWH are underscreened because they are unable to overcome structural barriers to accessing cervical cancer screening in a clinical setting. Consequently, many underscreened FLWH are less likely to be diagnosed with cervical cancer at its earliest stage when treatment is most effective. This is likely due to multiple barriers. For example, FLWH who are homeless, or injection drug users are more likely to be underscreened because they are less likely to be linked, engaged, or retained in HIV care. FLWH who identify as female-to-male transgender (or trans men) are more likely to be underscreened if a provider-collected specimen via speculum exam is their only option. Additionally, HIV-negative females who meet one or more PrEP eligibility criteria at-risk for acquiring HIV/HPV co-infection.
The overarching goal of my research program is to improve cervical cancer and other HPV-related health outcomes for above-average risk medically underserved and vulnerable females through prevention and early detection. To date, my NCI-funded cancer health disparities research program has focused on increasing access and reducing structural barriers to evidence-based cervical cancer prevention practices for:
- Females living with HIV (FLWH) because…
- They are 3-8 times more likely to be diagnosed with cervical cancer because…
- Their compromised immune system is less able to clear HPV infection and…
- Unfortunately, they are also less likely to adhere to clinical guidelines, which recommend more frequent cervical cancer screening than HIV-negative females.
- HIV-negative females who meet one or more PrEPeligibility criteria because this suggests that they are at-risk for acquiring HIV/HPV co-infection.
- Female-to-male transgender (or trans men) because barriers and facilitators to cervical cancer screening are understudied for this sexual and gender minority population.
Education & Training
PhD, University of South Carolina, 2009