Be AWARE of New Initiative To Study HIV Prevention in Women

Funding News Edition: September 01, 2021
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Are you capable of positively impacting the HIV epidemic among women living in the United States? Do you have novel ideas about how to use digital technology to reach women, gather insights through epidemiologic methods, and harness data science approaches to better understand HIV prevention, transmission, and early care-cascade points focused on women? If so, apply for research project funding through American Women: Assessing Risk Epidemiologically (AWARE) (R01, Clinical Trial Optional).

This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) will support innovative, flexible, scalable technology-mediated epidemiologic studies focused on identifying vulnerabilities and informing prevention and treatment of HIV in cisgender, transgender, and gender nonconforming women living in the United States. Ultimately, successful applicants will develop women-centric knowledgebases where study databases are combined with other sources of data to build research platforms and better extract new insights.

Your application should include a large enough prospective, digital cohort of women without HIV to directly measure HIV incidence and factors that contribute to HIV vulnerability. Data from the digital cohort can be enriched with more focused data, e.g., data from case-control studies of women recently diagnosed with HIV or focus groups from which you collect detailed qualitative data. Your study should also address external factors that impact vulnerability such as women with behaviorally vulnerable sexual partners. Structural-level data on key contextual factors such as HIV viral phylodynamics, insurance coverage, health care use, incarceration data, and social networking can then be integrated into the knowledge base to build new understandings of HIV prevention.

Project topics that most interest NIAID include the following examples:

  • Identifying optimal approaches to enroll HIV vulnerable women, measure risk, and verify HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Using knowledgebases to describe individual and contextual factors that influence behavioral vulnerability to HIV among subgroups of women, and ameliorate vulnerabilities
  • Employing flexible scalable approaches for data acquisition and analysis
  • Using data science approaches to conduct network analyses and prediction models, e.g., digital trace, viral phylogenetics, geospatial analysis, machine learning
  • Conducting simulation and other types of modeling to explain patterns in social networks, behavior risk, and health-seeking behaviors
  • Developing models to anticipate responses to HIV prevention messages for different subgroups of behaviorally vulnerable women
  • Assessing the role of substance abuse or alcohol misuse in women as related to behavioral vulnerability to HIV and other infectious diseases
  • Evaluating mental health as a determinant of HIV exposure and engagement in prevention strategies
  • Interrogating determinants of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) awareness, uptake, and adherence
  • Developing optimal approaches to reach HIV vulnerable women across the lifespan
  • Processing and visualizing data to display knowledge gained from AWARE research to better inform stakeholders responsible for HIV and other STI-related health programs

Conversely, NIAID will consider nonresponsive and not review applications that propose:

  • A study population that is not exclusively women residing in the United States or its territories
  • Studies proposing a clinical trial to test pharmaceutical interventions, regardless of investigational new drug application status
  • Studies focused only on women identified with HIV before study start
  • Studies not focused on women vulnerable to HIV infection
  • Studies not proposing technology-focused approaches to establish and follow large numbers of HIV-negative women for epidemiologic research
  • Studies not proposing findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable (FAIR) knowledgebases
  • Applications lacking a clearly described data sharing plan

In your application, you’ll also need to show that the design, methods, analysis, and sample size for any interventions on health-related biomedical or behavioral outcomes are appropriate to the research aims. Refer to Research Methods Resources to ensure you meet NIH’s requirements and expectations.

Application Details

The maximum project period is five years. Application budgets are not limited but must reflect the actual needs of your proposed research.

Applications are due on December 9, 2021. Optional letters of intent are due one month earlier, on November 9, 2021.

Send questions about the FOA to Ms. Joana Roe, NIAID’s scientific/research contact, or Dr. Kristina Wickham, our peer review contact, both of whom are listed in Section VII. Agency Contacts.

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