Jake Rhodes, PhD
Identifying People With Higher Risk of HIV Acquisition
Despite the discovery of medications that prevent HIV infection, 1.7 million people worldwide are still infected each year. This is primarily due to challenges around access to medication in health care settings with limited resources and the high cost of daily medication. Until improved medications are readily available, we could better control HIV infections by identifying individuals who have a significantly higher risk of HIV infection and prioritizing these individuals to receive current medications and other prevention methods.
My lab has previously identified two biomarkers — molecules within people’s blood that are a sign of a specific condition — that are found in people who are much more likely to become HIV positive. This study aims to better understand the cause of these increased biomarkers and the role they may play in HIV infection. We hope this information can be used to implement more targeted measures to prevent transmission and potentially even develop improved medications against HIV infection.
I am extremely grateful to receive the PhRMA Foundation fellowship, which will directly support my translational research in HIV acquisition risk and prevention strategies. This award will help strengthen connections between basic and clinical research, a concept that I believe produces the most beneficial and impactful research outcomes.