Gabriela Zavala, MD

Nominated From: University of Washington

Research Site: Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia

Research Area: HIV, Surgery

Primary Mentor: Lacey LaGone

Research Project

Evaluating HIV-patient experience and access to emergency general surgical procedures in a low middle-income country

We aim to describe the process PLHIV experience accessing acute care surgery and prompt anti-retroviral therapy (ART) to identify potential gaps in care and guide quality improvement strategies. The project consists of three phases. Phase one consists of semi-structured online confidential interviews, following an iterative process, to gain an in-depth understanding of patients’ and providers’ perceptions towards the steps needed to access emergency surgical care and prompt ART, if not yet on it. Phase two will consist of process mapping, to understand steps taken by PLHIV towards accessing emergency general surgical treatment and their journey to acquire early ART. Finally, in phase three, the research team will disseminate results to local stakeholders to engage them in quality improvement surgical practice and develop a foundation for standardized surgical protocols for PLHIV to decrease the gap between PLHIV and the care received in the HIV-negative population.

Research Significance

HIV is still a major global health problem. Access to prompt treatment and barriers in health care continue to be major obstacles in this vulnerable population. The quality gap in health service provision, in particular surgery, between HIV-negative patients and patients living with HIV (PLHIV) exists and is often overlooked. This unaddressed issue is the main objective of our project.


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