My program of research focuses on the intersection of substance use, HIV and related infections in marginalized populations including: people who inject drugs (PWID), female sex workers (FSW) and men who have sex with men (MSM). I have a decade of experience testing and delivering interventions for substance users who are HIV-positive, at high-risk of acquiring HIV, other sexually transmitted infections and/or hepatitis C.
My career in research began at the University of California, San Francisco where I contributed to a series of research projects including: testing the efficacy of an integrative intervention designed to enhance antiretroviral medication adherence and reduce stimulant use among MSM living with HIV; the correlates of syphilis reinfection among MSM; the parameters (e.g., racial/ethnic disparities) of incident HIV infection, and reliable biomarkers of alcohol consumption among young PWID in San Francisco, CA.
I have also examined several key global public health issues surrounding substance use and HIV among marginalized populations in the Mexico-United States border region. My research in this region explores: how syndemic factors impact perceived barriers to pre-exposure prophylaxis use among FSW, MSM and transgender women; the social and structural drivers of elevated HIV incidence among female PWID; the environmental (e.g., sexual violence and homelessness) correlates of bacterial vaginosis among FSW-PWID; and sex differences in the multilevel determinants of injection risk behaviors among PWID. Taken together, my research examines the behavioral and contextual drivers of substance use and HIV in several vulnerable groups in a domestic and international context.