NIH Awards Will Advance HIV Implementation Research in U.S. Communities

NIAID Now | September 24, 2020

Several of the new projects will focus on reducing barriers to the use of PrEP—a single daily pill to prevent HIV acquisition—among cisgender heterosexual women.

Credit: NIAID

The National Institutes of Health has awarded approximately $10 million to support implementation science research to advance the goals of Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America, which aims to reduce new HIV diagnoses in the United States by at least 90% by 2030. NIH, through its 17 Centers for AIDS Research (CFARs) and six NIMH AIDS Research Centers (ARCs), serves a critical role in this initiative by collaborating with partners in local communities on research to determine how best to leverage existing, highly effective tools to diagnose, prevent and treat HIV.

The new awards provide one to two years of supplemental funding to 17 of the 23 CFAR and ARC programs. Some of the new awards continue and expand on pilot projects funded in 2019 to develop locally relevant plans for diagnosing, treating and preventing HIV in areas with high rates of new HIV diagnoses, and provide funding for two years. Others support new one-year projects, including seven projects focused on reducing barriers to the use of PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) among cisgender heterosexual women. Uptake of PrEP, a highly effective HIV prevention method that involves taking a single daily pill containing two HIV drugs, remains low among U.S. women. These new projects aim to determine how best to implement strategies to help cisgender heterosexual women learn about PrEP, decide if this HIV prevention tool is relevant for their lives, access PrEP, and sustain PrEP use for as long as desired.

Additional one-year projects focus on topics including connecting people living with HIV to treatment and health care services, reducing HIV stigma, and understanding how different communication strategies and delivery platforms can be leveraged to increase use of HIV testing, prevention, and care services. A complete list of awards is available online.

All projects involve close collaboration between CFAR/ARC investigators and local implementing partners and community groups in priority areas targeted by the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative. These areas include the 50 counties and cities with the highest rates of HIV and seven states with high rates of HIV in rural areas. This close engagement with communities is critical to developing locally relevant interventions that meet a community’s unique needs. Within these geographic areas, researchers and community partners will investigate how to best deliver evidence-based interventions and services for populations that face a disproportionate risk of HIV, including Black and Latinx populations.

The CFARs are co-funded and managed by 12 Institutes and Centers and the Office of AIDS Research at NIH. The ARCs are an interdisciplinary mental health research program funded by NIH’s National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

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