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Living with HIV in Rural Areas: Addressing Healthcare Transportation Barriers through Technology.

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People living with HIV in rural areas need to get to healthcare facilities and places where they can find nutritious food that are often located in other towns or cities. Thus, access to affordable and reliable forms of transportation to healthcare and food resources is critical for this population. Yet, the transportation needs of this vulnerable population are often underserved as public and private transportation services are limited in rural areas. Ridesharing platforms have made it easier for people living in urban areas to get to work, grocery stores and healthcare providers. However, such technologies are often not available in rural settings and, as our findings show, these types of services may not work well in rural settings due to lack of trust and infrastructure, stigma, and other cultural underpinnings. During the talk, I will share details of an interview-based study with people living with HIV and their care coordinators that explored the barriers and facilitators that rural dwellers experience when trying to get to healthcare or places where they can obtain nutritious food. In addition, I will also talk about findings and design implications of our latest research study that investigated the use of a Timebanking-based technology in an urban setting and how it could potentially benefit rural dwellers living with chronic health conditions.

Fernando Maestre (he/him/his) is an Ecuadorian researcher and educator. He has taught and conducted research in universities in his home country working with indigenous populations. After moving to the United States in 2013, he obtained a Master’s degree in Informatics from the University of Iowa as well as a PhD degree in Human-computer Interaction Design from the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering at Indiana University Bloomington. Fernando conducts Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) research with stigmatized and marginalized groups. He applies novel methods to conduct research remotely in the contexts of stigma management and transportation access. In 2021, Fernando was awarded the President’s Postdoctoral Award to continue with his academic training at the University of Minnesota. He is currently a researcher in the GroupLens Lab in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering where he continues to do research on the design of technology for stigma with and for vulnerable populations.