Dr. Monica Swahn, professor in the School of Public Health and associate vice president for research at Georgia State University, has received a two-year, $390,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study the role of alcohol marketing and early alcohol use among African youth acquiring HIV.
"While alcohol research in Africa has been scarce, alcohol use in Sub-Saharan Africa has been found to be associated with unprotected sex and other health concerns," said Dr. Swahn. "This grant will allow us to examine alcohol use in Uganda specifically, which has one of the highest per capita consumption levels world-wide. We will develop ways to help reduce the extent to which early alcohol use increases risk for HIV transmission among 12 to 18 year olds."
Researchers will conduct an environmental scan of alcohol marketing, as well as surveys and focus groups with youth and leaders of community-based organizations, to develop communication messages and materials for a counter marketing campaign.
The project will be guided by an interdisciplinary and international Project Advisory Board composed of alcohol researchers who serve vulnerable and urban youth in Kampala, Uganda.
This research will help pioneers in alcohol marketing and leaders of community-based organizations understand the prevalence and types of alcohol marketing to which youth are exposed.
"With the insight gained from this project, communities will be better prepared to address the risk of HIV transmission among youth," said School of Public Health Dean Michael P. Eriksen. "That is precisely the type of hands-on public health impact research we are committed to here at Georgia State."