Duke University’s Gender Health & Wellness Department has begun delving into the world of LGBTQ-specific care with their new research registry. Currently in the works, this registry is being created by three of Duke’s physician researchers who are hoping to learn more about how they may better serve the queer community. One such physician, Hayley Cunningham MD, is conducting a study on the medication for HIV prevention called Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). 

The information procured by Cunningham and her colleagues will be totally confidential and used for statistical evidence, rather than individual stories. All research will be conducted via surveys, interviews, focus groups and health data collection studies. This means the LGBTQ community will be integrally involved in the research. 

Cunningham stresses the HIV PrEP study will allow her to “collect demographic information to help determine where the greatest disparities lie so that we [at Duke] can design and implement targeted initiatives to reduce these disparities.” In order to participate in the research study, Dr. Cunningham invites those over eighteen years of age to complete a confidential survey. To take the survey, go to bit.ly/3qdwSat

As an internal medicine resident, Cunningham identifies as an ally to the community; hoping to improve the quality of life for all LGBTQ people. This may involve further study relating to HIV/AIDS, STDs or STIs. Confidentially is key for Cunningham’s work and she emphasizes, “Adults in North Carolina identifying as a gender or sexual minority can choose to provide basic demographic and contact information. Those on the registry will never be enrolled in a study without their informed consent.” 

When opportunities to participate in studies arise, these interested adults will be contacted by one of the three physicians at Duke. As with the PrEP study, the research registry’s end goal is to be able to differentiate between symptoms as well as diseases that may affect one faction of the LGBTQ community over another.   

On Duke’s Gender Health & Wellness Department webpage, there are resources listed for gender-expansive care catering to youth and hormone therapy for adults. Duke Health also offers gender-affirming top-surgery options to transgender, nonbinary and otherwise gender diverse individuals. 

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