Cohort III
2019 - 2021

Valeria Cantos | Souhail Malavé-Rivera | John Sauceda | Leah Varga


Leah Varga

Leah Varga, PhD
George Washington University

CFAR Mentor:
Carlos Rodriguez-Diaz, PhD
   (DC CFAR)

Collaborating Partner:
Suyanna Barker, DrPH
   (La Clinica del Pueblo)

Latinos Living with HIV in DC: Exploring Experiences in Engagement and Retention in Care

Latinos in the United States are disproportionately affected by HIV. Since power dynamics and politics likely impact quality and access to health care, Latinos may experience multiple intersecting positions that affect their experience of health, as well as their health seeking behaviors. Using an intersectionality framework, this proposal seeks to understand how Latinos in Washington DC experience living with HIV by focusing on two Specific Aims.

Aim 1 is to understand how multiple social-structural factors impact the health outcomes of Latinos living with HIV in DC. Aim 2 will explore the experiences of living with HIV among Latinos in DC. A mixed methods approach with an intersectional framework will be used to respond to these aims. Quantitative data from the DC Cohort Longitudinal HIV Study will be used to answer Aim 1 by conducting a descriptive analysis using socio structural factors to understand the impact these intersecting positions have on engagement in care and viral suppression among Latinos in DC. To answer Aim 2, qualitative data will be collected via interviews and focus groups with Latino men who have sex with men, Latinas, and Transgender Latinx living with HIV.

This study intends to advance knowledge on Latino health by understanding the multi-layer factors that support or deter engagement in health care and viral suppression by examining how individuals experience different layers of inequality. There is also an opportunity to understand the interplay of socio-structural factors in the experience of living with HIV and the way these may act as assets or barriers to positive health outcomes. It aligns with NIH research priorities to reduce health disparities in treatment outcomes of those living with HIV/AIDS and to better understand the cumulative effect of multi-level factors on HIV care for Latinos. Findings from this study will be used as preliminary data to support future applications to develop and pilot culturally relevant interventions to support engagement in care that will lead to viral suppression among Latinos living with HIV.