Hood receives national grant for HIV study

Kristina B. Hood

A new national research grant is supporting a Mississippi State faculty member’s investigation of HIV intervention efforts focused on African American women.

Kristina B. Hood will use the two-year award totaling more than $280,000 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Institutes of Health for her project titled “Increasing rural substance-using African American women’s access to evidenced-based HIV intervention.”

According to the assistant professor of psychology who came to the university in 2012, HIV/AIDS continues to be a major public health threat, particularly for rural areas with limited access to prevention resources.

“Condom use is an effective method of preventing HIV transmission, and a number of interventions have been developed to increase condom use among sexually active individuals,” she said. “Such interventions have been shown to increase condom use intentions and behaviors, but they have limited reach, thus using time and resources without notable large scale impacts on HIV efforts.”

Hood said findings from her study could help spotlight the use of social media “as a wide reaching, cost-effective method to implement evidence-based, group-level HIV interventions for individuals with limited access to prevention services.”

As a result, she said “increased scalability and reach of HIV programing could aid in preventing new HIV infections, particularly in populations of increased risk.”

Founded in 1887, the NIH is recognized as the world’s foremost medical research organization. In addition to conducting investigations in its own laboratories, the agency supports the efforts of non-governmental professionals like Hood working at universities, medical schools, hospitals and other research institutions throughout the country and abroad.

Along with HIV prevention and preventative health behaviors, Hood’s research interests include gender roles and beliefs, substance use and misuse, and the promotion of positive health outcomes among underserved populations.

MSU’s psychology department is part of the College of Arts and Sciences.

In congratulating Hood for receiving the NIH honor, Dean R. Gregory Dunaway said the “very competitive and prestigious award will allow her to make a significant contribution in understanding the impact of HIV on African American women.”

Her achievement is the latest example of the psychology department’s “excellent research reputation,” he observed.

Hood is a psychology graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University. Along with social psychology master’s and doctoral degrees, she also holds criminal justice and sociology master’s degrees.

For more on the NIH, visit www.nih.gov.

To learn more about MSU’s psychology department, see psychology.msstate.edu.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.

Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R03DA039744. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Sasha Steinberg | Public Affairs

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