Annet Davis, MSW, RN, is a community engagement coordinator and project director at the University of Pennsylvania HIV Clinical Trials Unit in Philadelphia. She currently supports HPTN 083 as a community educator and Community Working Group member.
How did I first become involved with the HPTN?
I started working in HIV research after a 25-year nursing career in in-patient and out-patient psychiatry and substance use treatment. Psychiatric and substance use treatment facilities, in the late eighties and early nineties did not address the HIV epidemic. A person living with HIV would simply vanish from the workforce. I would work with them privately in their homes, feeling helpless as I did not have direct access to treatment services. The University of Pennsylvania had a position in the HIV Prevention Research Division and I grabbed the opportunity. I eventually was assigned as a project coordinator for an HIVNET high-risk injection drug use study and a randomized study to evaluate the efficacy of a network-oriented peer education intervention for the prevention of HIV transmission among injection drug users and their network members (HPTN 037).
What do I find most challenging about the work I do in support of the HPTN?
As we work hard identifying interventions to prevent new HIV infections, we struggle to determine what interventions work best within each of the various communities experiencing a significant number of new infections. A great challenge is creating effective strategies for sharing prevention interventions, especially bio-medical (e.g., Truvada as PrEP).
What do I think will change about HIV prevention over the next five years?
With fingers crossed, I hope we move closer to having either a therapeutic HIV vaccine or a potential vaccine available to all communities. Also, hoping to increase the microbicide options for men and women.
What do I wish other people knew about our work?
I am proud to work at the University of Pennsylvania. We have a team of dedicated staff committed to reaching out to all communities affected by the HIV epidemic, sharing prevention information and support for social services. We also work hard to impact social justice concerns.
What do I do when I’m not working?
I take classical ballet and pointe classes, I’m a news junkie, and love watching football and tennis (I’m a dedicated Roger Federer fan).