Jennifer Mark, MPH

Mark, Jennifer

Nominated From: University of Washington

Research Site: Kenya

Research Area: syphilis and HIV screening, couple testing, maternal and child health

Primary Mentor: Carey Farquhar

Research Project

Home-based antenatal HIV and STI education and testing to reduce STI transmission risk among couples during pregnancy

This proposal addresses whether home-based point-of care HIV and syphilis couple’s testing with education can increase male uptake of sexually transmitted infection (STI) and HIV services during female partner pregnancy, compared to clinic-based passive partner referral. While STI interventions during pregnancy are important to prevent adverse pregnancy outcome, male-friendly couple’s approaches are also important to reducing intimate partner transmission risk. This randomized control trial has a home-based intervention arm and a standard antenatal care arm. We hypothesize that successful implementation of home-based partner education and testing (HOPE) will result in reductions in heterosexual HIV and syphilis transmission risk and improved disease management through partner-supported uptake of STI and HIV screening and treatment interventions.

Research Significance

Shifts in national health guidelines to fully integrate STI services into family planning and reproductive health programs may decrease general stigma, but may also reduce male-friendly HIV-STI services. Leveraging point-of-care STI diagnostics in couple’s based antenatal care education in a home setting may improve access and quality of care for male partners, in addition to mothers and children in areas experiencing a higher prevalence of HIV.

Advice for Potential Applicants

1. Spend time in your first 2 months focusing on building relationships with your local colleagues who will be your best resources on the project and in your daily life.
2. Have extra ideas that serve as “backup plans” for research questions and be flexible to new information about in-­country resources you discover on arrival to your country site.




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