The AFYA Project

Origin: Swahili 
Meaning: Wellness; Health


HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that can make it harder for the body to fight infections. Over time, it can cause AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) which can lead to health problems and can even be life-threatening. There are many risk factors for getting HIV, including unprotected sex and injecting drugs/sharing needles.

PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a once-a-day pill that can prevent HIV even if people are exposed. People who take PrEP are strongly encouraged to use other methods of prevention (like using condoms and not sharing needles), but studies show that PrEP can help prevent HIV. Most people who take it have only mild side effects if any.

Kerr study image 3

African Americans are affected by HIV more than other groups.  In Kentucky, African Americans make up about 8% of the population, but are about 33% of new HIV cases.  However, prevention strategies like condom use and PrEP may help reduce HIV in the African American community. 

Project Goal

The goal of this project is to increase the availability and use of PrEP among people who may benefit from it. To work towards this goal we will: (1) Educate medical professionals, (2) Work with AIDS service organizations, and (3) Increase awareness of PrEP.


We will do several things to reach the goals of this project:
-- Conduct focus groups to get thoughts about HIV from the community 
-- Work with the medical community to help people get access to PrEP,
-- Work with community-based organizations for programs around PrEP and HIV prevention.
-- Conduct PrEP and HIV awareness raising programs
-- Survey African Americans in Louisville to understand whether this project is working well


Who can participate? We are seeking participants who are 18-29 years old, African American, have ties to West Louisville, and in at least one of the following categories:

-- A man who has sex with men
-- A transgender women
-- A person of any sexual orientation with an HIV positive partner
-- Intravenous (injected) recreational drug user
-- Anybody who feels that they may be at risk for HIV

What will participants be asked to do? Participants may complete a survey, participate in a focus-group, or both. Some contact information will be requested.

SurveyFocus Group

The survey is in two parts, an initial assessment and a follow-up six months later.

The survey asks about HIV risks, HIV prevention, and healthcare. It takes about 20 minutes and is done on a computer, with questions written on the screen and read aloud by the computer. The survey is private—answers are given on the computer, so the researcher will not know your answers, and all answers will be kept confidential.

The focus group will be a group conversation that lasts about an hour. The groups will have about eight people in each session. 

What do participants get for taking part? Participants in the survey receive $50 ($20 for taking the survey the first time, and $30 for taking it again six months later). You may also receive up to $30 for recruiting others to complete the survey. People who participate in a focus group session will receive $35 for their time.


Please contact us if you want more information about the study or how to participate. 

Call Toya at 502-852-1908 or Jelani at 502-852-3292


Twitter @Afya_Lou 

Principal Investigator:Jelani Kerr, PhD, Assistant Professor, Dept. Health Promotion & Behavioral Sciences, School of Public Health & Information Sciences, University of Louisville

Mailing address: 485 E. Gray Street, Louisville, KY 40202

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