Research Coordinator, mHealth Research Study Group University of Malaya (Malaysia)
Mohd Akbar, fondly known as Ezra by his colleagues and acquaintances, has been working at the Centre of Excellence for Research in AIDS at the University of Malaya as a research coordinator for the past 11 years. His work mainly focuses on key populations at high risk of HIV infection including prisoners, sex workers, transgender women and men who have sex with men (MSM). As a person living with HIV himself, he is mostly concerned by the increasing number of new HIV cases among the MSM community. Therefore, his research also focuses on chemsex, suicidality among MSM, and PrEP uptake. His work as research coordinator under the MyPrEP study has provided crucial information on the PrEP situation in Malaysia. Currently, he is the study coordinator for mHealth Malaysia, a collaborative series of research studies between the University of Malaya, the University of Connecticut and Yale University that looks into the utilization of mobile applications and AI-powered Chatbots to increase PrEP uptake and HIV testing among the MSM community. He is also actively involved with local HIV-focused NGOs not only as a researcher, but also as a community member.