The Center for HIV Identification, Prevention and Treatment Services (CHIPTS) is proud to announce the second year of the mentored pilot grant program for emerging and new investigators (ranging from Doctoral Students to Assistant Professors).  Applicants are encouraged to submit proposals of innovative and transformative domestic and international social, behavioral, policy, and combination bio-behavioral pilot studies that will produce data and experiences that will support future funded grants and career development.  Proposals should focus on the intersection of HIV/AIDS treatment or prevention with mental health and/or substance use co-morbidities.  Proposals may budget up to $50,000 in total costs and must be able to be completed within 12 months from date of award.  It is anticipated that at least two awards will be made.  Investigators from any Southern California university, college, healthcare organization, or community-based organization (CBO) may apply but must work with a UCLA CHIPTS faculty mentor/sponsor on the proposal draft application prior to submission.

Three-page applications are due March 26, 2018 by 10:00am Pacific Time by email to Stephanie Sumstine (  Applicants must meet with their CHIPTS faculty mentor/sponsor to review drafts of their application and incorporate feedback prior to submission.  A letter of intent (LOI) is NOT required for this year’s funding opportunity.  However, applicants are highly encouraged to submit their intention to apply by February 26 using our online form.  The purpose of this process is to inform CHIPTS of your interest in applying for funding and to assist in planning the review process.  Review of full applications and notice of funding decisions will be made by May 1, 2018.

Questions on relevance of proposed research for this call, or for linkage to a CHIPTS faculty mentor can be directed to Dallas Swendeman, PhD, MPH, Director of CHIPTS Development Core at  For application details, please see the complete call below.

2018-2019 CHIPTS Pilot Grant Complete Call (131 downloads)
CHIPTS Pilot Budget Form (PHS 398 Form Page 4) (104 downloads)

Past and Current Awardees

2017 Call for Pilot Grant Program Applications

“Impact of Methamphetamine use and HIV infection on Cardiovascular Risk”
Dr. Janine Trevillyan, with mentors Drs. Currier & Shoptaw

This project aims to determine differences in plasma biomarkers of cardiovascular and periodontal disease in individuals with and without HIV infection, along with the impact of methamphetamine, and thus determine the relative contributions of HIV and methamphetamine to cardiovascular risk. Specifically, this study will examine the difference in plasma biomarkers of cardiovascular disease between HIV negative and positive individuals who are non-users or heavy users of methamphetamine from the mStudy cohort samples. The research will also estimate the severity of periodontal disease via plasma levels of antibodies against periodontal pathogens in HIV negative and positive individuals who are non-users or heavy users of methamphetamine and determine the correlation between antibody levels and biomarkers of cardiovascular risk.

“Integrated Psychoactive Substance Use and Mental Health Service for Men Who Have Sex with Men in China”
Dr. Chunqing Lin, with mentor Dr. Li Li

This study will identify the barriers to provision and utilization of psychoactive substance use and mental health-related screening, referral, and treatment services for MSM in Guangdong Province, in southern China. Additionally, the research will investigate the mental health and substance use-related clinical needs and service utilization patterns among MSM and devise strategies to provide integrated mental health and psychoactive substance use prevention, diagnosis and care, with special consideration of incorporating existing evidence-based screening and intervention tools into the current healthcare system, particularly in primary care settings.

“Changes in the microbiome due to HIV infection: What do substance use and obesity have to do with it?”
Mr. Ryan Cook (Doctoral Student), with mentor Dr. Gorbach

This study will examine the role of obesity and substance use in HIV-associated immune dysregulation (dysbiosis) via biomarker analyses of mStudy cohort samples. Approximately half of the mStudy cohort of young, minority men who have sex with men is HIV-infected, substance-using, and overweight.

“Improving Outcomes for HIV+ Youth in Uganda.”
Dr. Jeanne Miranda and Dr. Joan Asarnow

This study combines a depression and HIV care intervention for HIV+ Ugandan youth with depression. This pilot culturally adapts an evidence-based, lay health worker-led depression intervention and combines it with an evidence-based HIV care intervention. This pilot study will provide information on feasibility and acceptability of the intervention.

“Linkea tu vida (Link your Life): Linkage to and retention in HIV care for PLHIV from key populations in Peru.”
Dr. Angela Bayer and Hugo Sánchez

This intervention aims to adapt, refine, implement and test the initial efficacy of an innovative combination intervention that will employ 1) streamlined linkage into HIV care and 2) short message service (SMS) reminders for care appointments, tracking of PLHIV who miss appointments and informational and motivational messages. The primary outcomes of Linkea tu vida are linkage to HIV care within 1 month and retention in HIV care at 6 months.

“Testing an Educational Visual Aid to Increase Knowledge and Adherence to Antiretroviral Therapy.”
Dr. Joan Christodoulou and Dr. Susan Ellen Lewis Abdalian

This pilot project aims to examine the effectiveness of a simple, visual and interactive demonstration with youth living with HIV. Half of the youth in each cohort will receive either: 1) Standard Care and a demonstration of the Adapted Petrie Device or 2) Standard Care. The goals of this project are to increase knowledge about how antiretroviral medication works in the body and to increase adherence to antiretroviral medication.

“Predictive Analytics to Identify HIV Cases in MediCal/Medicare Claims Data.”
Dr. Warren Scott Comulada

In the absence of a single indicator of HIV positive serostatus, a number of ad hoc algorithms have emerged in order to identify PLH in Medicaid and Medicare claims data that use HIV specific diagnosis codes and related treatment indicators. This study used machine learning tools to improve upon existing HIV-identification algorithms by using diagnosis codes and other variables that are present across four years of Medicaid (Medi-Cal) and Medicare claims data in a subset of the claims data from Californians. The goals of this project were to: 1) To use machine learning tools to develop a predictive algorithm for HIV positive or negative serostatus using Medicaid and Medicare claims data; and 2) to develop guidelines for using our predictive algorithms based on the amount of claims data that is available and the level of certainty that can be expected in predicting HIV positive serostatus.

“PAREDES: A Partner-Based Approach to HIV/STI Case Detection for Latino MSM.”
Dr. Jesse Lawton Clark

The purpose of this pilot study was to explore the cognitive processes, interpersonal interactions, and partnership/network structures guiding partner notification attitudes, beliefs, and practices among Latino MSM in Los Angeles. This pilot assessment of a comprehensive partner notification instrument aimed to address the complex intersection of partners (parejas), networks (redes), and barriers (walls or paredes), or PAREDES, that define partner notification and treatment among Latino MSM.

“Cost-Effectiveness of a Financial Incentive Program to Reduce HIV/STIs in MSM.”
Dr. Laura Jane Anderson

This study investigated the effectiveness and cost-implications of a monetary incentive-based program targeting HIV and STI testing and treatment among high-risk men who have sex with men (MSM) at a community-based clinic in Los Angeles. Specifically, this project evaluated the clinical and behavioral impact of a monetary incentive-based STI and HIV testing program to reduce HIV/STI positively an increase testing among MSM. Additionally, this study evaluated the cost effectiveness of a monetary incentive-based program to reduce HIV/STI positivity and increase testing among MSM.

“Adapting and Evaluating an HIV Intervention for Delivery via Mobile Phones.”
Dr. Tiffany Monique Montgomery and Deborah Koniak-Griffin

The objective of this study is to adapt and implement a text message version of Sister to Sister, an evidence-based high-risk sexual behavior intervention, for use among young adult Black women. In the first phase of this pilot study, a research advisory board composed of eight young adult Black women reviewed the original Sister to Sister curriculum and created text messages to be delivered via mobile phone. An evaluation of the acceptability, feasibility and outcomes of the S2S was conducted in the second phase.

“Role of Race and Discrimination in Adherence to HIV Care Among African Americans.”
Dr. Shu Farmer, Dr. Risa Hoffman, Dr. Deborah Mindry, and Dr. Glenn Wagner

This study examined how racism and discrimination influence health decision-making behaviors and antiretroviral adherence in HIV-infected African Americans. The aims of this study were to describe the role of perceived racism and discrimination among HIV-infected African Americans with regard to their experiences with engagement in HIV care and to explore the role of perceived racism and discrimination with regard to non-adherence to ART among HIV-infected African Americans’ with viral loads > 200 copies/ml twice in the last year or 2 or more missed clinic appointments in the last year. The purpose of this study was to better understand how fear of stigma acts as a barrier to HIV testing, engagement in care, and treatment adherence among African Americans.