HIV & AIDS Prevention

HIV/AIDS Prevention Research

Dr. Wigfall is an emerging HIV/AIDS prevention research scholar whose research interests are aimed at realizing the vision of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States, which is that… 

“The United States will become a place where new HIV infections are rare, and when they do occur, every person, regardless of age, gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, or socio-economic circumstance, will have unfettered access to high quality, life-extending care, free from stigma and discrimination.” USDHHS 2017

One goal of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States is that at least 90 percent of people living with HIV will know their HIV-positive status by the end of 2020 (USDHSS 2017). Unfortunately, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that 15% of 1.1 million (or 1 out of 7) people in the United States who were living with HIV infection at the end of 2015 did not know that they were HIV-positive (CDC 2018).

To this end (i.e., increasing the number of people living with HIV infection who know their HIV-positive status), Dr. Wigfall is the principal investigator of an internally-funded research project entitled, HIV Prevention Education Program for Dental Students: A Feasibility Study.The overarching goals of this feasibility study is to: 

  1. Assess the willingness of low-income patients to receive a rapid oral HIV test if they were offered one in a community-based dental care setting,
  2. Assess the willingness of predoctoral dental students to offer a rapid oral HIV testing to underserved populations (e.g., low income) in community-based dental care settings, and 
  3. Develop and pilot test an HIV prevention education program for predoctoral dental students.

Another important aspect of this feasibility study is that the risk of having undiagnosed HIV infection among low-income patients in community-based dental care settings will also be assessed. These combined preliminary data will be used to further underscore the significance of providing an HIV prevention education interprofessional program for predoctoral dental students and other health scientists that people living with HIV may encounter across the HIV care continuum.

Research Support Staff

Shanette Billings, BS - Study Coordinator
Shanette Billings, BS
Study Coordinator
Hannah Balcezak - Research Assistant
Hannah Balcezak
Research Assistant

Research Collaborators & Academic Affiliations

Idethia Shevon Harvey, DrPH, FGSA – Texas A&M University, College of Education and Human Development, Department of Health and Kinesiology, Division of Health Education

Marie C. Latortue, DDS, MS (Co-Investigator) – University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, School of Dentistry

Shirley Lewis-Miranda, BDS, CAGS, MScD – Texas A&M University, College of Dentistry

Funding Acknowledgement 

This research project is supported by a Catapult Award (Round 4) from the College of Education and Human Development at Texas A&M University. 

Dr. Wigfall’s HIV Testing Publications

Wigfall LT, Brandt HM, Kirby H, Iyer M, Levkoff SE, Glover SH. HIV testing among financially disadvantaged women diagnosed with cervical cancer. J Women’s Health 2014 Aug; 23(8):714. DOI:10.1089/jwh.2014.4895.

Wigfall LT, Richter DL, Torres ME, Annang L, Lindley LL, Swayampakala K, Sebastian N, Glover SH, Duffus WA. HIV testing among midlife women in the Deep South: an analysis of the 2008 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey data. J Women’s Health 2011 Jun; 20(6):933-41.

Wigfall LT, Williams EM, Sebastian N, Glover SH. HIV testing among Deep South residents 50 to 64 years old with cardiovascular disease and/or diabetes. J Natl Med Assoc 2010 Dec; 102(12):1150-7.

Wigfall L, Duffus WA, Annang L, Richter DL, Torres ME, Williams EM, Glover SH. Pap Test and HIV testing behaviors of South Carolina women 18-64 years old. J SC Med Assoc.2009 Dec; 105(7):274-80.PubMed

Social Media Links and Articles on Research

HPV Vaccination Rates Low Among Adults that are High Risk for HIV Infection

How HIV Might Influence HPV Vaccination Rates


CDC (2018). HIV/AIDS Basic Statistics available at: This page was last reviewed/updated on November 19, 2018. Last accessed on December 21, 2018.

USDHHS (2017). National HIV/AIDS Strategy available at: This page was last updated on January 31, 2017. Last accessed on December 21, 2018.