Understanding Risk Perceptions of Communicable Versus Non-Communicable Diseases in Manglaralto, Ecuador with the Yale-Ecuador HIV Clinic Initiative

Santa Elena

In summer 2013, I collaborated with a student-run Yale organization, the Yale-Ecuador HIV Clinic, to combat HIV/AIDS rates and provide HIV/AIDS education in the Ecuadorian province of Santa Elena. As a group, we ran HIV/AIDS tests at the regional hospital and surrounding clinics and delivered HIV/AIDS “charlas” (brief educational messages). As a group, we have observed a fall in prevalence rates of HIV/AIDS, accompanied by a dramatic rise for those of chronic disease. With this information, we decided to also address the important issues regarding diabetes, obesity, and hypertension. I conducted a research project on risk perceptions of HIV/AIDS versus diabetes, in hopes of evaluating cultural attitudes towards infectious versus non-infectious diseases. I look forward to evaluating this research in the fall semester and sharing its conclusions with the hospital administrators, which will hopefully aid in the construction of future diabetes interventions.