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Adedotun Ogunbajo - Accra, Ghana

Accra, Ghana
Participant describes his experience living with HIV and navigating the healthcare system in Ghana.

Career goal: I plan on pursuing further studies in public health, focusing on the social and behavioral determinants of health. I hope to focus on the the HIV/AIDS epidemic especially as it affects ethnic and sexual minority communities. My career aspiration is to become a professor, serving as both a principal investigator on national and international research projects as well as training the next generation of public health researchers, practitioners and academics.

Internship outline: Ade traveled to Accra, Ghana to conduct qualitative research on the experiences of Ghanaian men who have sex with men (MSM) living with HIV/AIDS within the healthcare system. He worked in collaboration with a local NGO, Priorities on Rights and Sexual Health (PORSH). Established in November 2013, PORSH is one of the few non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Ghana that champions MSM-related issues such as health, human rights and gender-related initiatives. He conducted semi-structured interviews with 30 men that covered several topics including experience living with HIV, engagement in HIV care, patient-provider relationship, HIV medication, clinical experiences and stigma.

Value of experience: This experience provided me with the opportunity to conduct independent research, which I have always wanted to do. While I encountered various obstacles, I was able to address and overcome them and successfully complete my project. In addition, learning about the issues faced by this community has reinforced and strengthened my desire to pursue HIV prevention and treatment research as a career.

Best moment/experience: My best moment of the summer was visiting the Aburi Botanical Gardens in Accra. The drive up provided an aerial view of the entire city and made me appreciate the rich beauty of Ghana.

Funding source: Maureen and Antoine Chiquet Fund for Global Health Fellowship