MGH Research Scholars Program
The MGH Research Scholars Program was established to support early career researchers with innovative yet unproven ideas that have the potential to transform the future of medicine. Funded 100% through philanthropy, this program gives researchers the freedom and flexibility they need to follow the science wherever it leads. History has shown that brilliant scientists who are given free rein to explore new frontiers make the greatest, often unexpected, advances.
Ingrid Bassett, MD, MPH, is investigating ways to expand access to HIV testing, treatment and prevention in South Africa, the epicenter of the HIV epidemic.
Community-Based Implementation Science Research to Improve Health in Durban, South Africa
HIV-infected people can live a near-normal lifespan if they are diagnosed promptly and stay on treatment. HIV medications can also be used to prevent HIV transmission to those who are uninfected.
These advances have led UNAIDS to set an ambitious target of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 by ensuring 90% of people with HIV are diagnosed, 90% are on treatment, and 90% have suppressed viral loads.
However, only 40% of people living with HIV worldwide are accessing treatment and even fewer HIV-uninfected people have access to HIV prevention and contraceptive methods.
My work seeks innovative solutions for expanding access to HIV testing, treatment and prevention outside of the "brick and mortar" healthcare setting and in community venues in South Africa, the epicenter of the HIV epidemic.
I will leverage a strong collaboration in the largest township in Durban, where I have worked for 13 years, to expand the scope of my own research portfolio to include HIV prevention and reproductive health, and create new opportunities for Mass General trainees interested in mentored global health research experiences.
My work has critical implications for other countries in sub-Saharan Africa, where 70% of the world's HIV-infected people reside.