I was notified by my advisor that the PI of Project YESS will be out this week once again to give a series of presentations about the project to research centers at Columbia University starting Wednesday. In preparation for the presentation I was asked to insert a few additional pieces of information, statistics in particular. I was assigned to find national statistics on PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) uptake and HIV testing rates among the youth. Although the assignment seemed fairly simple at first, it proved to be challenging because most studies that focused on sexual reproductive health among youth specifically focuses on high school students. The PI made it clear that the age group of high school students was too narrow for her presentation and that she would prefer stats on age groups such as 13-24 years or 16-24 years. Therefore, I contacted other interns working with Project YESS to assist me in finding the proper statistics and ended up finding some that were applicable to youth around the country by digging through national archives mentioned in scholarly articles that discussed the topic of HIV among youth and undergoing a few mathematical steps to establish a percentage.
On Wednesday, I was assigned to spend the day taking a Phase 2 survey. The goal was to make sure that there were not any typos, formatting errors, or errors in the coding in order to ensure that the survey is age-appropriate, comprehensible, and clear. After taking the survey, I listed all of the errors that needed to be addressed as well as any suggestions that could improve the content of the survey on a group document that was shared with all project staff to see. For instance, one suggestion I made was to change the formatting of a question that asked how long a respondent was in a romantic relationship with their current partner. The original question required the respondent to enter the estimated length at which they had been in a relationship. However, I proposed that it would be easier if the respondent enters the date at which they and their partner started dating on a calendar since it generally is harder for a couple to know the length of their relationship down to the weeks and days they have been together.
On Thursday, I worked with the project staff to review our list of recruitment sites in Upper Manhattan and South Bronx to ensure that Project YESS has access to every possible location, festival, or event that serves potential participants. We scouted for any other locations that we appeared to miss on our list while also refining our list by removing some locations that may not be appropriate for our study population. For example, after revisiting some locations on our list, we noticed that the entrance fees were a little too high to appeal to teens and adolescents.
The upcoming weeks will be very exciting for Project YESS as project staff and I will be working together to implement the changes needed in the Phase 2 surveys in order to ensure substantial data collection through periodic conferences and check-ins.