Dr. Susan M. Kiene
Home-Based HIV Testing in Rural Uganda
Dr. Susan M. Kiene iis a Professor of Global Health and the Associate Director for Academic Affairs in SDSU’s Graduate School of Public Health.
Dr. Kiene’s research focus is in developing and testing sustainable community-based public health interventions. Much of Dr. Kiene’s research focuses on HIV, alcohol use, and family planning in sub-Saharan Africa where she has been conducting HIV research for more than 15 years. Her research also creates technology to address health care human resource shortages in developing countries to help ensure that all individuals and especially those in rural areas can access quality health care.
Her research has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health since 2004. She has worked in Uganda, South Africa, Puerto Rico, and Brazil. Currently she is focusing on projects in Uganda, Brazil, and Nigeria.
In one of her ongoing projects in collaboration with Makerere University School of Public Health, Dr. Kiene is testing a home-based HIV testing and counseling model with enhanced linkage to care services to see if it reduces time to HIV care, treatment initiation, and population-level infectivity.
Home-based HIV testing could solve the pressing need for early and simpler entry to HIV care and treatment. As many as two-thirds of patients are lost between testing HIV positive and initiation of treatment. Timely linkage to care reduces mortality rates, improves treatment outcomes and decreases the likelihood of transmitting HIV to others.
Dr. Kiene’s enhanced intervention emphasizes counseling and seeking social support to overcome HIV-related stigma-and may be a cost-effective HIV testing and referral approach.
In another project in rural Uganda, Dr. Kiene and her team are pilot testing a mobile-phone based application to help caregivers provide appropriate and timely treatment for diarrhea to their young children. Using an algorithm, the application asks caregivers questions about their child’s symptoms and guides them on the appropriate home treatment or referral to a health facility. If this proof-of-concept testing is successful, they will expand it to address other illnesses that affect young children in developing countries.