written by The Minority Sex Report
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Gabrielle, the co-founder of The Minority Sex Report to talk about the work I'm doing in the community for HIV cure research engagement and crowdsourcing! Check some of the interview below!
In honor of March being Women’s History Month we decided to shine the spotlight on women who are game changers in our home state. It was my honor to interview Dr. Allison Mathews, the director of 2BeatHIV and founder and CEO of Community Expert Solutions, LLC. Her work has been featured on “Left of Black,” TEDxDurham, The Lux Blog NC, and ExitEvent.com. She earned her BA in Sociology from Howard University, and her MA and PhD in Sociology from UNC Chapel Hill. She works as a researcher at UNC Chapel Hill in the Department of Social Medicine and the Institute for Global Health and Infectious Disease.
1. Can you tell me a little about yourself?
My name is Dr. Allison Mathews. I work at UNC Chapel Hill in the Department of Social Medicine and the Institute for Global Health and Infectious Disease and I started the 2BeatHIV Project which uses crowdsourcing contests as a way to engage the community in different topics around HIV, like HIV cure clinical trials and now moving into HIV testing and trying to design a campaign around HIV testing from the crowdsourcing contest.
2. What is 2BeatHIV? What led to the creation of 2BeatHIV?
The project started in December 2015 and it’s kind of like a hybrid between outreach and research. We’re trying to access whether crowdsourcing is a feasible and effective intervention for engaging the public in difficult discussions or critical dialogue about the ethics of HIV cure clinical trials. Now we have funding to see if crowdsourcing is an effective way to get ideas from the community to develop a campaign to reduce the stigma on HIV testing. A lot of times we find that just telling people to get tested is not enough. You need to have some kind of messaging. What we’re finding from the focus groups is that a lot of people know that you need to get tested and where to get tested. It’s not hard to find a place to get tested, but it’s the stigma and the fear of the result. So we’re trying to use a crowdsourcing contest to get ideas from the community on ways to reduce that anxiety and that fear and that stigma.