Dear Colleague: National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD) 2023

This content originally appeared on The CDC National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. View the full article here.

Dear Colleague,

February 7 is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD), a day to highlight the progress of HIV testing, prevention, and treatment efforts and consider our ongoing challenges to reducing HIV among Black or African American people (hereafter referred to as African American people) in the United States. We have made strides in reducing the disproportionate impact of HIV on African American communities. Despite this progress, racism, poverty, and stigma continue to drive health disparities and make it more difficult for African American people to access HIV testing, prevention, and care services.

This NBHAAD, we invite our colleagues in HIV care and advocacy, health care, and public health to join us in challenging these systemic root causes of HIV disparities in African American communities in the United States. HIV surveillance data show us that African American people are disproportionately affected by HIV, making up 12% of the population, but accounting for 42% (12,827) of the 30,635 new HIV diagnoses in the United States and dependent areas in 2020. African American gay and bisexual men are the group most affected by HIV, making up 65% (8,294) of new HIV diagnoses among African American people in 2020.*

Research shows that a major source of these racial disparities is a lack of access to high-quality HIV prevention and treatment services. PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) coverage, for example, is lower among African American people—only 8% of African American people who could benefit from PrEP were prescribed PrEP in 2019, compared to 23% of people overall. To help raise PrEP awareness and uptake, health care providers can follow CDC’s updated PrEP guideline(PDF, 1.57MB) to inform all sexually active people about PrEP.

Intersecting racial and economic factors create structural barriers to HIV prevention and treatment in African American communities. Our nation’s troubled history of medical racism and experiences with discrimination from health care providers have contributed to high levels of mistrust in the health care system among African American people. These same factors increase disparities for other illnesses, including mpox, other sexually transmitted diseases, and viral hepatitis. We can all work to address stigma and racism within our institutions and look for ways to connect African American people with HIV testing and prevention services, as well as compassionate, patient-centered, stigma-free HIV care.

This NBHAAD, help us raise awareness about HIV testing, prevention, and treatment for African American people by downloading and sharing resources from CDC’s Let’s Stop HIV Together campaign, the national campaign of both the Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S.(EHE)initiative and the National HIV/AIDS StrategyLet’s Stop HIV Together is an evidence-based campaign created in English and Spanish that aims to empower communities, partners, and health care providers to reduce HIV stigma and promote HIV testingprevention, and treatment. You can also share social media content from CDC’s digital toolkit using the #NBHAAD and #StopHIVTogether hashtags. Together, we can work to address HIV disparities and enhance HIV prevention efforts among African American people in the United States.

Sincerely,

Robyn Neblett Fanfair, MD, MPH

Captain, USPHS

Acting Division Director

Division of HIV Prevention
National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Annual Reflections: Most Popular CHIPTS Content of 2022

As CHIPTS welcomes a new year and renews our commitment to ending the HIV epidemic, we reflect on the 2022 content that sparked the most engagement from our community. Through our website and social media accounts, we were able to share valuable information about the latest developments in HIV research, enriching learning opportunities, Center news, and more through our blog content, social media postings, video uploads, and new downloadable materials.

Website

In 2022, the CHIPTS website featured nearly 40 blog posts on the latest Center news as well as local, state, and national news from our research and public health partners. In 2022, our most popular blog topics included:

The CHIPTS website also featured reflections from three of our CHIPTS scientists to commemorate HIV awareness days in 2022. These popular pieces highlighted current issues facing populations disproportionately impacted by HIV and innovative research to help address them:

The resource library housed on the CHIPTS website includes a wide range of downloadable materials to support HIV researchers and community partners, from assessment tools to research project reports to policy briefs. Check out our most popular downloads of 2022 below:

Social Media

CHIPTS had an active presence across our social media platforms in 2022, sharing relevant content with local, national, and global partners. Here is our most popular content posted on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube in 2022:

Twitter:  

  • NEW Infographic from @CHIPTS and @ca_hiv_policyrc: Single mothers in U.S. states with a more generous EITCs engaged in significantly less #HIV risk behaviors… (https://bit.ly/3Dqoo7x)
  • Join us for the next #HIVGrandRounds session on September 20, 2022 at 11am PST! Dr. Ifeoma C. Udoh, Senior Research Scientist at @ETRorg, will be speaking on ETR’s health equity framework and how it can be applied and integrated into HIV research… (https://bit.ly/3wGzjpO)
  • Check out this issue brief by @CDCgov that describes the role of HIV self-testing in #EndingtheHIVEpidemic… (https://bit.ly/3XOU8LM)
  • Join @Alisonh3, @annaslau, and @LBrookmanFrazee on Friday, May 6, at 11 AM PT for our upcoming #impsci beachside chat on “Developing Careers as Implementation Scientists through Partnerships”… (https://bit.ly/3RjRFGL)
  • Join our #impsci hub for an upcoming methods workshop on designing semi-structured interview guides for implementation research… (https://bit.ly/3XQqZzG)

Facebook:

  • It was great to see so many members of the CHIPTS community yesterday at our end-of-the-year social! We are so grateful for the dedication of our amazing scientists… (https://bit.ly/3HoVWnA)
  • CHIPTS very own Methods Core Director, Dr. Jae Lee, visited Chiang Mai University last week to meet with collaborators and trainees from the UCGHI GloCal training program… (https://bit.ly/3Yf7bGi)
  • Excited to be partnering with APLA Health, Pacific AIDS Education and Training Center, & San Francisco AIDS Foundation on a new California Statewide #HIV & #Aging Educational Initiative… (https://bit.ly/40cALxX)
  • Check out our “U=U for Women” infographic created by the CHIPTS Community Advisory Board! Maintaining an undetectable viral load helps prevent #HIV transmission to partners … (https://bit.ly/3HJLqZI)
  • Check out the latest publication in ScienceDirect’s International Journal of Drug Policy by CHIPTS Policy Core Director Dr. Nina Harawa! This article explores the psychosocial and structural barriers driving the disproportionate #HIV incidence among young Black MSM…  (https://bit.ly/3YuO6Qz)

YouTube:

We look forward to bringing more relevant, engaging content to the CHIPTS community in 2023.

Reimagining PEPFAR at 20 to End the HIV/AIDS Pandemic by 2030

This content originally appeared on PEPFAR. View the full article here.

As the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) approaches its 20th anniversary in January, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Special Representative for Health Diplomacy Ambassador at Large Dr. John Nkengasong has embarked on a journey of reimagining the HIV/AIDS response [3 MB] together with PEPFAR’s stakeholders and partners. Within days of starting in his new role last month, Nkengasong conducted inclusive consultative listening sessions with PEPFAR stakeholders including partner governments, members of Congress, former global AIDS coordinators, chiefs of mission, multilateral partners, public health experts, PEPFAR personnel based at headquarters and the field, public and private partners, civil society, and faith-based organizations to gain insights about how to ensure PEPFAR remains fit for purpose to achieve the goal of ending the HIV/AIDS pandemic by 2030.

PEPFAR’s successes are well documented, with some of the most recent milestones including: over 20 million lives saved; 5.5 million babies born HIV free; supporting over half a dozen high-burden countries to meet or surpass the 90-90-90 UNAIDS treatment target; and leveraging the PEPFAR platform to respond to other global health threats, including COVID-19, H1N1, and Ebola.

“While we celebrate these hard-earned achievements, we know that HIV/AIDS is not over, it’s still a pandemic and there are gaps in support for children, young people and key populations and geographic pockets that threaten our gains,” Nkengasong said. “Our fight is far from over and the future of PEPFAR will be guided by respect, humility, equity, accountability, transparency, impact and sustained engagement.”

Those are the guiding principles Nkengasong revealed today as he outlined the program’s strategic direction for positioning PEPFAR on the path to end the HIV/AIDS pandemic as a public health threat by 2030 and sustainably strengthening public health systems through the PEPFAR platform, in partnership with communities and countries.

He shared five strategic pillars and three enablers for reimagining PEPFAR at 20 to achieve the 2030 goals. The 5×3 Strategic Approach includes:

Five Pillars:

  1. Health Equity for Priority Populations – Knowing and closing the prevention and treatment gaps for adolescent girls and young women, children and key populations.
  2. Sustaining the Response – Strengthening national and local political, programmatic, and financial leadership.
  3. Public Health Systems and Security – Utilizing the PEPFAR platform to protect HIV gains and leverage it for broader disease surveillance and public health programming.
  4. Transformative Partnerships – Designing new partnerships with key private, public and multi-sector entities that can complement existing programs and expand reach.
  5. Following the Science – Investing in the scale-up of cutting edge behavioral and implementation science to bend the curve on new infections.

Three Enablers:

  1. Community Leadership – Sustained leadership (including women and key populations) will be promoted in all elements of PEPFAR priority setting, funding allocations, program design and monitoring.
  2. Innovation – The status quo is not enough to get us through the last mile; we need to deploy creative and innovative solutions at scale for the remarkable challenges ahead.
  3. Lead with Data – Data will continue to drive decision making, and we will support strong country-led data systems.

“Respectful, action-oriented partnerships are front and center in PEPFAR’s way forward, which will continue to include partner governments, communities, bilateral and multilateral donors, philanthropies, the private sector, and others,” Nkengasong noted. Nkengasong is also looking to expand support for community-led solutions with an eye toward sustainability and accountability. In addition, the program will expand collaboration and build new partnerships in regional manufacturing and supply chains, digital health, health workforce, patient-centered care, and health equity.

Nkengasong’s announcements also included leveraging the PEPFAR platform for pandemic preparedness and global health security in support of overall objectives of the program. “We need to look at how the incredible platform established for the HIV/AIDS response can be further used to prepare the world to fight other pandemic diseases, while protecting and advancing HIV/AIDS response gains. We don’t need to build new systems to fight a pandemic – we should use existing platforms more broadly [to ensure the health of individuals and communities],” he said.

The way forward for PEPFAR will include continuing to lead with data, as the program continues to innovate and collaborate with its vast array of partners to reach and sustain HIV impact now and into the future.

Download:

Reimagining PEPFAR’s Strategic Direction: Fulfilling America’s Promise to End the HIV/AIDS Pandemic by 2030

Enhancing Support for the Next Generation of HIV Researchers

This content originally appeared on NIH Office of AIDS Research. View the full article here.

Over the past 40 years, substantial progress has been made in preventing and treating HIV and AIDS; however, the pandemic is far from over.

Approximately 38 million people globally have HIV, and in 2020 approximately 1.5 million people became newly infected.1 In the United States, an estimated 1.2 million people have HIV, and in 2019 approximately 34,800 people became newly infected.2

Moreover, HIV prevalence and incidence are not distributed equally around the world and within the United States. Disparities in transmission risk, health outcomes, and death exist by race, ethnicity, sex, gender, age, and region and reflect ongoing structural inequalities in access to HIV research and its outputs.

To reach the goals of the Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. (EHE) initiative, the science community must remedy disparities and further advance scientific discovery and its application in equitable and effective ways, that include focused efforts to enhance the pipeline, diversity, and sustainability of the HIV research workforce. OAR is committed to these efforts, as stated in Goal 4 of the NIH Strategic Plan for HIV and HIV-Related Research: to “build human resource and infrastructure capacity to enhance sustainability of HIV research discovery and the implementation of findings by a diverse and multidisciplinary workforce.” As a key element of this commitment, OAR is developing and implementing a multipronged initiative to increase the cadre of early career, next-generation HIV investigators—including NIH-defined Early Stage Investigators (ESIs) and Early Established Investigators—across disciplines and institutions.

As a first step, OAR conducted a portfolio analysis for fiscal years (FYs) 2015–2020 which found that, although the number of ESIs receiving their first grants at the NIH overall has increased since the inception of the NIH Next Generation Researchers Initiative policy in 2017, the number of HIV-focused ESIs receiving grants remained flat or decreased over this time frame. These data prompted OAR to take immediate action to identify the variables and determinants that contribute to a decline even in the presence of policies aimed to support early career investigators.

In early 2021, OAR convened a series of four virtual listening sessions with HIV research early career investigators to hear directly from them about the challenges and opportunities they face. Three sessions involved investigators who had received R01-equivalent funding in FYs 2018, 2019, or 2020, respectively; and one involved investigators who had not successfully competed for R01-equivalent NIH funding despite submitting multiple applications in FYs 2017, 2018, or 2019. Each session included between 10 and 21 early career investigators from diverse institutions and a small number of staff from OAR and NIH.

Key themes that arose during these sessions included—

  • A need for greater diversity in mentors and for mentoring specifically about grant writing and peer review processes.
  • Interest in more exposure to and earlier involvement in NIH study section and grant review processes.
  • The need for greater flexibility (e.g., protected time and budget) in NIH funding mechanisms and research career pathways.
  • The benefits of being connected to NIH research networks, such as the Centers for AIDS Research and HIV Prevention Trials Network.
  • The desire to have an NIH-supported network of peers from different institutions who could compare notes, share information, and support each other.
  • The need for leaders in the field of HIV research and academia to acknowledge and address the wide range of adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on research careers.

Following these listening sessions, OAR convened an Expert Panel consultation involving 19 senior HIV investigators and experienced mentors from a variety of academic institutions. The framework for the Expert Panel discussion was based on a set of questions derived from the feedback received during the early career investigator sessions. The questions addressed obstacles to ensuring a robust pool of early career investigators in HIV research; examples of existing efforts and successful programs; and opportunities to enhance support for and engagement of diverse early career investigators in HIV research careers.

The Expert Panel made a number of suggestions that are similar to the comments from the early career investigators, such as—

  • Modify policies related to specific funding mechanisms—such as the R- and K-series—to allow greater flexibility in mentoring and time allocation.
  • Update NIH practices related to peer review of applications from early career investigators, such as dedicated study sections.
  • Develop funding strategies to engage early career investigators from underrepresented minority populations and under-resourced institutions.
  • Enhance support for and replication of successful training programs for early career investigators.

Based on the input from these sessions, OAR is working with the NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices to implement a number of actions to develop and support HIV-focused early career investigator initiatives; identify meritorious but unfunded HIV research applications from early career investigators; continue engagement with early career investigators and mentor stakeholders; focus on inclusion of underrepresented minority groups and under-resourced institutions; and host a symposium to bring together HIV-focused early career and senior investigators and OAR and NIH program officials.

FDA Approves New HIV Drug for Adults with Limited Treatment Options

This content originally appeared on FDA News Release. View the full article here.

[On December 22, 2022], the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Sunlenca (lenacapavir), a new type of antiretroviral medication for adult patients living with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), whose HIV infections cannot be successfully treated with other available treatments due to resistance, intolerance, or safety considerations. After the starting dose is completed, Sunlenca is administered as subcutaneous (under the skin) injections once every six months, allowing convenient dosing for patients.

“Today’s approval ushers in a new class of antiretroviral drugs that may help patients with HIV who have run out of treatment options,” said Debra Birnkrant, M.D., director of the Division of Antivirals in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “The availability of new classes of antiretroviral medications may possibly help these patients live longer, healthier lives.”

Sunlenca is the first of a new class of drugs called capsid inhibitors to be FDA-approved for treating HIV-1. Sunlenca works by blocking the HIV-1 virus’ protein shell (the capsid), thereby interfering with multiple essential steps of the viral lifecycle. Sunlenca’s starting dose is given as oral tablets and subcutaneous injections, followed by maintenance injections every six months; Sunlenca is given in combination with other antiretroviral(s).

The safety and efficacy of Sunlenca were established through a multicenter clinical trial with 72 patients whose HIV infections were resistant to multiple classes of HIV medications. These patients had to have high levels of virus in their blood despite being on antiretroviral drugs. Patients were enrolled into one of two study groups. One group was randomized to receive either Sunlenca or placebo in a double-blind fashion, and the other group received open-label Sunlenca. The primary measure of efficacy was the proportion of patients in the randomized study group who achieved a certain level of reduction in virus during the initial 14 days compared to baseline. In this group, 87.5% of patients who received Sunlenca achieved such a decrease in virus compared to 16.7% of patients who received a placebo. After 26 weeks of Sunlenca plus other antiretrovial drugs, 81% of participants in the first group achieved HIV RNA suppression, where levels of HIV were low enough to be considered undetectable. After 52 weeks, 83% of participants continued to have HIV RNA suppression.

The most common adverse reactions with Sunlenca were injection site reactions and nausea. Most injection site reactions were described as swelling, pain or redness. Sunlenca comes with certain warnings and precautions. Injection site reactions described as nodules or indurations may be persistent in some patients. Additional warnings and precautions include the risk of developing immune reconstitution syndrome, which is when the immune system overreacts after starting HIV treatment. Also, small (residual) amounts of Sunlenca can remain in the body for up to a year or longer; low levels of drug caused by missing doses of Sunlenca or failing to maintain a fully suppressive HIV treatment regimen after stopping Sunlenca could lead to an increased risk of developing viral resistance. Residual amounts of Sunlenca could also lead to potential drug interactions.

Patients should not receive Sunlenca if they also take certain drugs that cause reduced levels of Sunlenca. This may result in losing virologic response and developing viral resistance.

The FDA granted Sunlenca Priority ReviewFast Track and Breakthrough Therapy designations for this indication.

The FDA granted the approval of Sunlenca to Gilead Sciences.

Text Me, Girl! – Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program

CHIPTS Combination Prevention Core Director Dr. Cathy Reback was recently recognized for her work developing an impactful text messaging intervention – Text Me, Girl! – that improves antiretroviral therapy (ART) uptake and adherence and self-reported viral suppression among transgender women ages 18–34 years. As of November 2022, Text Me, Girl! is live on TargetHIV.org as part of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Best Practices Compilation. As described on TargetHIV.org:

Text Me, Girl! is a text messaging intervention that aims to improve linkage to and retention in HIV care, increase adherence to HIV medications, and improve viral suppression and other health outcomes among transgender women ages 18–34 years. Text Me, Girl! delivers automated text messages grounded in behavioral change theory and associated with all stages of the HIV care continuum. The intervention supports young transgender women with HIV, particularly those experiencing barriers to care such as periods of homelessness and/or incarceration, substance misuse, or engaging in sex work.

Text Me, Girl! was developed and evaluated as part of Use of Social Media to Improve Engagement, Retention, and Health Outcomes along the HIV Care Continuum, an initiative funded by the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Part F Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS) program. Text Me, Girl! participation was associated with statistically significant improvements in ART uptake and adherence, and self-reported viral suppression.

Check out these resources to learn more about the Text Me, Girl! Intervention and evidence-base:

2022 CHIPTS HIV Next Generation Virtual Conference (Recap)

The 2022 HIV Next Generation Conference hosted by CHIPTS welcomed 130 attendees for a day of presentations, discussions, and networking. The conference facilitated by Dallas Swendeman, CHIPTS Development Core Co-Director, welcomed attendees and participants from academic institutions, community-based organizations, health care institutions, and other organizations working to end the HIV epidemic. The day also provided a unique opportunity for cross-collaboration and mentorship.

The conference theme, Implementation Science for HIV Prevention and Treatment to End the Epidemics” was emphasized throughout the day’s program. Steve Shoptaw, CHIPTS Director and Norweeta Milburn, CHIPTS Development Core Director gave opening remarks to lay the groundwork for the conference. Amaya Perez-Brumer, Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto offered an engaging and informative opening plenary.

The program proceeded with the first set of sessions featuring presentations and panel discussion that occurred concurrently. One set of sessions, moderated by Laura Bogart, CHIPTS Combination Prevention Core Scientist centered on mental health and HIV prevention. The first session featured Jasmine Lucero Lopez, she discussed the impact of a virtual platform to mitigate the effects of isolation among older people living with HIV using Discord. Katherine Lewis highlighted mental health strengths among youth at-risk for and living with HIV. Curtis Wong & Alice Ma shared sexual health promotion methods and decision-making strategies among youth at-risk for HIV in Los Angeles and New Orleans.

The second session running concurrently, facilitated by Dilara K. Üsküp, CHIPTS Policy Impact Core Scientist centered on HIV prevention. The second set featured David Mosqueda & Dino Selders who addressed PrEP/ PEP use disparities amongst marginalized communities by way of a peer-led collaborative initiatives. Lori Zomback described medical student-ran telehealth for HIV testing and counseling among sexual minority men. Pablo Zapata discussed factors associated with HIV testing among Spanish and English speaking Latinx youth.

A second set of two concurrent sessions followed, this set included a session focused on substance use and HIV  that was facilitated by Pamina M. Gorbach, CHIPTS Global HIV Director. Boram Kim & Cheng-Shi Shiu began the first session, discussing factors influencing betel nut chewing behavior in people living with HIV in Myanmar. Amanda P. Miller presentation examined substance use and associated intimate partner violence risk among MSM In Los Angeles, California. 

A concurrent session facilitated by Jesse Clark, CHIPTS Combination Prevention Scientist Core was the first of the EHE Implementation Science panels. Alison Hamilton discussed the UCLA Rapid, Rigorous, Relevant (3R) implementation science hub and its supporting EHE Initiatives. Wei-Ti Chen addressed intersectional oppression in Asian Pacific Americans with HIV in Southern CA through a implementation science framework. Laura Hoyt D’Anna, Everardo Alvizo & Jaelen Owens collaborated to present on implementing a community-engaged equity approach to identify barriers and facilitators to the PrEP care continuum in Long Beach, CA.

The first panel in the final set focused on policy impact and was facilitated by Ayako Miyashita Ochoa, CHIPTS Policy Impact Core Co-Director. Felipe Findley & Vanessa Warri led an engaging discussion focused on HIV and the carceral state describing the effects of research on health outcomes. The second panel led by Dallas Swendeman, CHIPTS Development Core Co-Director closed the second part of the EHE Implementation Science panels. Ronald A. Brooks presented on implementation strategies that promoted equitable dissemination of LAI and PrEP to Black/Latino MSM and Transgender women in Los Angeles. Raiza M. Beltran & Tam Phan discussed pharmacist delivered PrEP and PEP in three high priority EHE counties in CA. Carl Highshaw & Sung-Jae Lee provided an overview of Haus of C.H.O.P (Choosing Healthy Options for Prevention/PrEP). Corrina Moucheraud & Raphael Landovitz described their project focused on financially incentivizing strategies for HIV prevention in high-incidence populations in LA County. 

Over the course of the virtual conference, poster presenters shared their innovative research with attendees during interactive breakout poster sessions. View the posters: https://chipts.ucla.edu/news/2022-chipts-hiv-next-generation-conference-resources/

Finally, CHIPTS Co-Director Raphael J. Landovitz gave the closing remarks, reminding attendees of the conference’s purpose and highlighting the need for innovative interventions to end the HIV Epidemic.

See below for oral presentation PDFs and available recorded presentations.

WELCOME AND OPENING REMARKS

Opening Remarks by:

  • Norweeta Milburn, PhD, Director, CHIPTS Development Core
  • Steve Shoptaw, PhD, Director, CHIPTS 

Conference Facilitator and Announcements by:

  • Dallas Swendeman, PHD, Co-Director, CHIPTS Development Core

OPENING PLENARY

Amaya Perez-Brumer, PhD, MSCAssistant Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, Division of Social and Behavioural Health Science

Presentation Title: Who Benefits from Global HIV Prevention Science? A Call for Researcher Accountability

Presentation Summary: To imagine and reimagine a more just praxis for HIV research globally, we, as scholars and practitioners, must grapple with the extreme privilege at the center of who gets to do global HIV health research, who are its beneficiaries, and who are its subjects. To begin to think through these provocations, this talk will discuss three ongoing paradoxes rooted in data politics and the extractive logics at the center of global HIV prevention science.

 

Set 1 – Panel 1: Mental Health and HIV Prevention 

1. Jasmine Lucero Lopez, BS

Presentation Title: A virtual platform to mitigate the effects of isolation among older people living with HIV: Lessons learned in usability with Discord

Presentation Summary: This presentation will discuss the perspectives of a Community Advisory Board (CAB) on the usability of Discord as a virtual village. We will explore the benefits and drawbacks of this platform for the purpose of this study, based on the opinions expressed by the CAB. Lessons learned from this experience and how to improve future studies will be shared.

 

2. Katherine Lewis, BA

Presentation Title: “I have moments where I am down, but it has made me resilient”: Mental health strengths among youth at-risk for and living with HIV

Presentation Summary: Youth enrolled in several linked HIV prevention and treatment continua studies who participated in a telehealth coaching intervention completed a strengths assessment, and qualitative data on mental health strengths was analyzed using thematic analysis and a resilience lens. Youth self-described mental health strengths included intrapersonal resilience assets (protective traits, stress management activities, feeling positive despite current mental health challenges, and no current mental health challenges) and external resilience resources (social/emotional support, therapy/counseling, and use of mental health medication). These results highlight the utility of strengths-based intervention methods and resilience for youth at-risk for and living with HIV.

 

3. Curtis Wong, BSc & Alice Ma, BSc

Presentation Title: Sexual health promotion methods and decision-making among youth at-risk for and living with HIV in Los Angeles and New Orleans: A qualitative, choice-based analysis

Presentation Summary: A strengths-based telehealth coaching intervention was delivered to youth at-risk for or living with HIV in Los Angeles and New Orleans within the context of several linked HIV prevention and treatment continua studies. We used a choice-based framework and qualitative methods to analyize strengths assessment data, which revealed intrapersonal, interpersonal, and structural factors that influenced participants’ sexual health decision-making, including decisions regarding PrEP use, condom use, and other strategies. These results demonstrate the utility of self-determination and choice-based frameworks in sexual health promotion efforts for youth.

 

Set 1 – Panel 2: HIV Prevention 

1. David Mosqueda & Dino Selders, B.S

Presentation Title: Addressing PrEP/ PEP use disparities amongst marginalized communities by way of a peer-led collaborative initiative

Presentation Summary: PrEP Furnishing shows promise of assisting marginalized peoples living in primary care healthcare shortage areas. Altamed fast tracks furnishing initiatives by placing PrEP navigators in the lead when it comes to Patient initial care and retention.

 

2. Lori Zomback BS

Presentation Title: Medical student-run telehealth for HIV testing and counseling among sexual minority men: impact on patient experience and implications for student education

Presentation Summary: A group of medical students conducted tele-health HIV testing using OraQuick and provided education and risk-reduction counseling during the turnaround time. There was high participant satisfaction and educational benefit for the students, demonstrating benefits to both public health and medical education.

 

3. Pablo Zapata, PhD

Presentation Title: Factors associated with HIV testing among Spanish and English speaking Latinx youth

Presentation Summary: Data for the current project were collected as part of SMART, an ongoing pragmatic trial of an online HIV prevention intervention for adolescent sexual minority youth. Despite higher risk, few Latino youth reported ever having received an HIV test. Results suggest sexual health education and pediatricians are an important, but largely untapped, source of testing and could be further supported with familial support to end the epidemic

 

 

Set 2 – Panel 1: Substance Use and HIV

1. Boram Kim, PhD, RN & Cheng-Shi Shiu, PhD & Wei-Ti Chen, RN, CNM, PhD, FAAN

Presentation Title: Factors influencing betel nut chewing behavior in people living with HIV in Myanmar

Presentation Summary: Despite the WHO classifying betel nuts as a carcinogen with a high risk of oral and laryngeal cancer, Myanmar is one of the world’s largest consumers of betel nuts because chewing betel nuts is socially and culturally influenced in Myanmar. The study aimed to examine factors that influence betel nut chewing in people living with HIV (PLWH) in Myanmar. From a secondary analysis of 2020 Myanmar PLWH data, physiological hyperarousal symptoms and loneliness were associated with increased betel nut chewing among PLWH in Myanmar.

 

2. Amanda P. Miller, PhD, MS

Presentation Title: Substance use and associated intimate partner violence risk among MSM in Los Angeles, California

Presentation Summary: Prior work suggests substance use is a risk factor for intimate partner violence but limited research exploring this association among MSM exists. We explored associations between substance use and experiences of IPV among MSM participating in the mSTUDY cohort in Los Angeles. Stimulant use was associated with increased odds of experiencing IPV relative to those reporting no stimulant use and the magnitude of this association was greater among MSM living with HIV.

 

Set 2 – Panel 2: EHE Implementation Science (PT. 1)

1. Alison Hamilton, PHD, MPH

Presentation Title: The UCLA Rapid, Rigorous, Relevant (3R) implementation science hub: Supporting EHE initiatives

Presentation Summary: The UCLA 3R Hub, a supplement to CHIPTS, is one of eight hubs funded by the NIMH to support EHE pilot Implementation studies. Tis presentation will briefly address the critical role of Implementation science in ending the HIV Epidemic and will describe services and supports that are available to the Southern California community and beyond.

 

2. Wei-Ti Chen, RN, CNM, PhD, FAAN

Presentation Title: Addressing intersectional oppression in Asian Pacific Americans with HIV in Southern CA: An implementation science framework

Presentation Summary: The purpose of this study is to collaborate with the local Asian Pacific American With HIV (APAWH) community to adapt and evaluate the appropriateness, acceptability, and feasibility of a 4-session, 4-week Social-justice Oriented, Family Informed self-management intervention to promote health among APAWH in Southern California, particularly Orange counties (SOFIAA). The scientific premise is that APAWH experience systematic barriers in healthcare delivery and policies, resulting in poor health outcomes. Additionally, regardless of ethnicity, APAs often prioritize their responsibilities to their families over their own individual needs. Our hypothesis is that APAWH will perceive SOFIAA as acceptable, feasible, and appropriate and a future study will demonstrate SOFIAA may be used to promote family support, decrease the effects of structural racism and HIV-related stigma, and achieve better outcomes in APAWH. This study addresses the critical need to optimize an intervention to promote self-management skills among APAWH by simultaneously addressing the reality and effects of structural racism and discrimination against APAWH from both the mainstream U.S. society and the APA communities.

 

3. Laura Hoyt D’Anna, MPA, DrPH & Everardo Alvizo, LCSW & Jaelen Owens, BA

Presentation Title: Implementing a community-engaged equity approach to identify barriers and facilitators to the PrEP care continuum in Long Beach, CA

Presentation Summary: The study aims to address the HIV epidemic by improving PrEP linkage, uptake, and retention among Black and Latinx same-gender loving men, transgender women, and other gender-diverse persons in Long Beach, CA. This is a mixed methods study designed to explore barriers and facilitators to engagement along the PrEP care continuum from the viewpoints of community members and current and potential PrEP providers. Findings will inform the following: 1) the Long Beach HIV/STI Strategic Plan, 2) a culturally appropriate PrEP readiness and facilitation tool, and 3) intervention opportunities to be studied in future research.

 

Set 3 – Panel 1: Policy Impact

1. Felipe Findley, PA-C, MAPS, AAHIVS & Vanessa Warri, MSW

Presentation Title: HIV and the carceral state: Researching effects on health outcomes

Presentation Summary: This panel will share broad perspectives of CHIPTS Community Advisory Board member and community partners engaged in CHIPTS PIC work to address disproportionate health outcomes across communities engaged by carceral systems. Panelists will elucidate pathways for researchers to better capture the effects of criminalization on health outcomes.

 

Set 3 – Panel 2: EHE Implementation Science (PT. 2)

1. Ronald A. Brooks, PhD

Presentation Title: The incentives for prevention study (TIPS): Financially incentivizing strategies for HIV prevention in high-incidence populations in LA County

Presentation Summary: The project will host 7 informational/educational community workshops to provide up-to-date and relevant information on LAI-PrEP to providers (medical and non-medical) that serve Black/Latino/a MSM and transgender women and potential consumers. Additionally, the project will develop a community-derived and culturally appropriate strategic messaging guide to facilitate ongoing dissemination of LAI PrEP information to our focused populations of providers and consumers.

 

2. Raiza M. Beltran, PhD, MPH & Tam Phan, PharmD, AAHIVP

Presentation Title: Pharmacist delivered PrEP and PEP in three high priority EHE counties in CA (Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties): An overview.

Presentation Summary: For this presentation, we will provide a short overview of our proposed project that builds community capacity to better examine the facilitators and barriers to pharmacists-furnished HIV services in select priority areas of Southern California.

 

3. Carl Highshaw, PhD & Sung-Jae Lee, PhD

Presentation Title: Haus of C.H.O.P (Choosing Healthy Options for Prevention/PrEP)

Presentation Summary: For this study, we provide a plan on the equity-focused approaches aimed at optimizing engagement of young Black LGBTQ+ individuals across the PrEP care continuum by partnering with House & Ball Community (H&BC) members using social work guiding principles.

 

4. Corrina Moucheraud, ScD, MPH & Raphael J. Landovitz, MD, MSc

Presentation Title: The incentives for prevention study (TIPS): Financially incentivizing strategies for HIV prevention in high-incidence populations in LA County

Presentation Summary: TIPS is a recently-funded project (an Ending the HIV Epidemic supplement to CHIPTS) that is using a mixed methods approach to understand how best to design an investigational financial incentives program for PrEP use and HIV prevention among young, Latino, Black and African American, cisgender men who have sex with men in South Los Angeles. This represents a collaborative research endeavor between investigators at UCLA, APLA Health & Wellness, and DHSP; and aims to generate policy- and program-relevant insights.

World AIDS Day 2022 at CHIPTS

World AIDS Day 2022 at CHIPTS

Since 1988, communities around the world have come together annually on December 1 to observe World AIDS Day. World AIDS Day offers an opportunity to unite in demonstrating support for those living with HIV, remembering those lost, and redoubling its commitment to ending the HIV epidemic. The U.S. government’s theme for World AIDS Day 2022 was “Putting Ourselves to the Test: Achieving Equity to End HIV,” highlighting the importance of providing equitable access to HIV testing, prevention, care, treatment, and research. CHIPTS commemorated this important day with a social media series highlighting why our CHIPTS community members wear red for World AIDS Day, and by participating as a partner in the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Sciences World AIDS Day 2022 event.

CHIPTS Social Media Series: Why I Wear Red for World AIDS Day

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“I #WearRed for #WorldAIDSDay because it reminds me and others that we must continue working to End the HIV Epidemic.” – Dr. Steve Shoptaw, CHIPTS Director
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“I #WearRed for #WorldAIDSDay to honor and cherish the people we have lost, celebrate how far we have come in preventing and treating HIV, and remember we still have work to do to reach people who continue to be marginalized in our prevention and treatment efforts.” – Dr. Norweeta Milburn, CHIPTS Development Core Director
“I #WearRed for #WorldAIDSDay because I want to be part of the collective voice to end HIV/AIDS!” – Eddie Sanders, CHIPTS Community Advisory Board Co-Chair
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“I #WearRed for #WorldAIDSDay because I fight against stigma and inequities associated with HIV.” – Dr. Chunqing Lin, CHIPTS Methods Core Associate Director
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“I #WearRed for #WorldAIDSDay because there is still so much work to do. And we will not rest until we have ended the HIV pandemic.” – Dr. Raphael Landovitz, CHIPTS Co-Director and Combination Prevention Core Co-Director

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“I #WearRed for #WorldAIDSDay to remember all our friends, family members, and colleagues who died in the 1980s and 1990s just months following a diagnosis. I wear red for #WAD2022 to honor those living with HIV. I wear red for #WAD to do my part to End the HIV Epidemic.” – Dr. Cathy Reback, CHIPTS Combination Prevention Core Director
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“I #WearRed for #WorldAIDSDay because transmasculine people are left out of the HIV/AIDS conversation and I want to ensure that those in my community have access and want to bring awareness to the overall human community.” – Luckie Alexander, CHIPTS Community Advisory Board Member

 

“I #WearRed for #WorldAIDSDay until we have found a cure.” – Dr. Christina Ramirez, CHIPTS Methods Core Scientist
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“I #WearRed on #WorldAIDSDay because it shows that I stand in solidarity with those who are infected as well as those who are affected by HIV/AIDS.” – Chandi Moore, CHIPTS Community Advisory Board Member
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“I #WearRed for #WorldAIDSDay to remember the many people who lost their lives to HIV. It is in their honor and memory that I work to help advance research to ensure there is equitable access to services for all. Only together will we end HIV.” – Uyen Kao, CHIPTS Executive Director

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drew CARES World AIDS Day 2022 Event

CHIPTS participated in the World AIDS Day event at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science on Monday, December 5, 2022, from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM. The event was hosted by the Drew Center for AIDS Research, Education, and Services (Drew CARES). Students, staff, faculty, and community members visited the CHIPTS table to learn more about the work we do to address inequities and end the HIV epidemic. CHIPTS staff engaged with attendees and offered HIV-related educational resources and promotional materials.

Check out our mini-gallery featuring event photos.

 

To Save Lives, We Must Dismantle Stigma at the Intersection of HIV and Methamphetamine Use

This content originally appeared on NIDA. View the full article here.

On World AIDS Day, December 1, we remember those lost to the HIV epidemic, take stock of how far we have come, and map the way forward. In the past decades, scientific and community leadership have achieved great things in helping people with HIV live long, healthy lives, as well as reducing HIV transmission through prevention. Yet as the United States grapples with the dual epidemics of HIV and drug overdose, people who use drugs continue to be left behind—especially sexual and gender minorities who are disproportionately impacted by HIV.

But even with multiple forms of HIV prevention now available, including pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) pills for people who are HIV-negative and antiretroviral therapy that can help people with HIV maintain an undetectable viral load and thus not transmit the virus, HIV transmission rates remain frustratingly elevated. Increased methamphetamine use over the past decade may play an overlooked role. A 2020 study in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (JAIDS) showed that a third of new HIV transmissions among sexual and gender minorities who have sex with men were in people who regularly use methamphetamine.

Methamphetamine use is more prevalent among gay and bisexual men than among other men, and it often accompanies sex (sometimes called “partying and playing” or “chemsex”). While in previous decades the mixing of methamphetamine and sex was mainly associated with White gay men, Black and Hispanic men who have sex with men are increasingly using methamphetamine too.

The disinhibiting effects of methamphetamine can increase certain sexual behaviors that make transmission of HIV more likely. There is also evidence that methamphetamine may make the body more vulnerable to HIV acquisition and contribute to HIV disease progression. Methamphetamine use can also lead to other serious health concerns, including addiction and fatal overdose.

In a new NIDA video, “Sex, Meth and HIV,” we highlight that to end the HIV epidemic with the effective tools at our disposal requires that we first recognize and respect the complexity and needs of sexual and gender minorities who use drugs. Like other drugs, methamphetamine may help individuals cope with mental health challenges like depression, anxiety, and trauma. Some gay and bisexual men use methamphetamine to enhance sexual experience and sense of connectedness. It can also temporarily boost self-confidence among individuals who may experience stigma and shame surrounding sexuality or other aspects of their lives.

 

 

For clinicians working to educate patients about health at the intersection of HIV and drug use, understanding the role that methamphetamine plays in an individual’s life is critical to providing quality care.

As Sarit Golub, a City University of New York (CUNY) Hunter College psychologist researching HIV and stigma, says in a companion video for clinicians, “Trust, Stigma and Patient Care,” telling gay and bisexual men about risks of combining drugs and sex can come across as instilling fear and shame, and may alienate rather than empower. As Dr. Golub notes, such communication can disregard the totality of an individual’s needs—for connection, for pleasure, and for confidence in a world that judges and shames.

 

 

Even in healthcare settings, people commonly experience stigma around drug use and sexuality, as well as racism and other forms of discrimination. A history of encountering stigma and discrimination in these settings often leads people to avoid disclosing their substance use and sexual practices with their providers. Clinicians must work with patients to rebuild that lost trust by listening to patients’ concerns rather than imposing their own.

“Meeting people where they are”—that is, providing care regardless of substance use or other behaviors that confer some health risk—has become the guiding philosophy of harm reduction. But it should also apply to prevention and treatment of both HIV and substance use disorders. We cannot hope to reach communities with effective prevention measures such as PrEP without recognizing and accepting the totality of people’s experiences, wants, and needs. Listening and acceptance from others help people take control of their own health. Equally important is to ensure that access and coverage for HIV prevention and treatment are accessible to all who can benefit from them.

Research to find better ways to reach people who use drugs with HIV prevention tools like PrEP, as well as to guide policymakers and insurance providers in ensuring the coverage of these tools, is a key focus area in NIDA’s 2022-2026 Strategic Plan. Expanding education regarding drugs and HIV, reducing stigma, and overcoming other barriers to care are also crucial. Carrico and CUNY School of Public Health researcher Christian Grov (lead author of the JAIDS study) are currently conducting NIDA-funded research on strategies to increase the use of PrEP among sexual minority men who use stimulants, including use of telehealth and incentives (contingency management) to facilitate adherence.

The new videos are the latest in NIDA’s series, “At the Intersection: Stories of Research, Compassion, and HIV Services for People Who Use Drugs.”

As NIH honors World AIDS Day, we particularly remember the people lost to the dual epidemics of HIV and overdose. For those grieving loved ones, NIDA stands among you. Through scientific advancement, NIDA is committed to saving lives. Recovery and healthy, long lives are possible through the use of evidence-based treatments alongside social support.

World AIDS Day 2022: Putting Ourselves to the Test: Achieving Equity to End HIV

This content originally appeared on HIV.Gov. View the full article here.

Each year on December 1st, we commemorate World AIDS Day. This important awareness day remains a time to reflect on our worldwide response to HIV/AIDS while honoring the lives of those lost to AIDS-related illnesses. On this day, we also renew our commitment to supporting the wellbeing of those with HIV, as well as those at risk for infection.

The U.S. Government (USG) theme for World AIDS Day 2022— Putting Ourselves to the Test: Achieving Equity to End HIV— emphasizes accountability and action, affirming the Biden-Harris Administration’s dedication to ending HIV, both in the United States and around the globe, through an approach that centers on communities disproportionately affected by the pandemic. This year, we observe World AIDS Day in the context of two other infectious disease threats—COVID-19 and monkeypox—which have heavily impacted many of those same communities. These epidemics have further highlighted that our public health response to HIV will require us to address health disparities holistically.

The theme also highlights the importance of HIV testing. “Everyone should get tested for HIV and know their status. We are advancing a status-neutral approach to HIV testing that puts equity at the forefront. Under this approach, no matter what the outcome of the test, people should be connected with the necessary HIV prevention and treatment services, including strategies to address social determinants of health and barriers to access,” said Kaye Hayes, HHS Deputy Assistant Secretary for Infectious Disease and the Director of the Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy.

We have made remarkable strides since the first World AIDS Day commemoration 34 years ago. Scientific research has yielded innovations in HIV care, treatment, and prevention so that individuals with HIV can enjoy longer, healthier lives. Robust scientific studies have also shown that people who are on HIV medication and achieve and maintain viral suppression cannot spread HIV to others, which means that successful treatment further drives down new transmissions. These advances have been possible due to strategic collaborations between governments, public-sector partners, multilateral institutions, nongovernment and philanthropic organizations, private companies, and research institutions. People with HIV have been central to this progress, and community-based organizations working in areas most affected by HIV are at the forefront of ensuring that the advances we have made translate into real improvements in the health and lives of the people they serve.

Yet despite our tremendous progress, our work is not finished. Globally, there are approximately 1.5 million new cases of HIV every year, including over 35,000 new infections in the United States. Due to stigma, discrimination, and other structural factors, certain populations and geographic areas continue to bear most of the burden of this disease. We remain deeply committed to ending HIV everywhere by engaging and empowering communities, and by ensuring that our programs, research, and policies are informed by the voices of those populations most impacted by HIV.

Globally, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is the largest commitment by any nation to address a single disease in history. Led by the U.S. Department of State in collaboration with seven other USG partner agencies, PEPFAR has worked for the past 19 years with more than 50 countries across the globe to address HIV/AIDS. In collaboration with partnerships across multiple sectors, PEPFAR’s programs have saved more than 21 million lives, prevented millions of HIV infections, and helped countries build a strong foundation to prevent, detect, and respond to other health threats, including COVID-19. “The greatest public health asset and the greatest public health response is PEPFAR. Through collaboration and partnership, we have made considerable progress toward ending the HIV/AIDS pandemic, but the last mile of the response is the greatest challenge. We are working with our multisectoral partners to focus on areas where gaps still exist among key and vulnerable populations to end HIV/AIDS as a public health threat by 2030,” said Ambassador Dr. John Nkengasong, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Special Representative for Health Diplomacy, who leads PEPFAR.

Here in the United States, the Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. (EHE) initiative continues to provide a bold vision for dramatically reducing the number of new HIV cases over the next several years, while the updated National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS), released by President Biden during World AIDS Day last year, provides stakeholders across the nation with a complementary framework for addressing HIV among the populations and communities most impacted. The NHAS Federal Implementation Plan (PDF, 707 KB), released in August 2022, outlines specific actions and activities that various federal agencies will take to achieve the goals set forth in the Strategy.

“This World AIDS Day, we acknowledge the role equity plays in either the success or failure of our Nation’s HIV response. Providing equitable access to HIV testing, prevention, care, treatment, and research is key to ending the HIV epidemic,” said Harold Phillips, Director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy. “The COVID-19 pandemic has tested our resolve and our ability to focus on ending the HIV epidemic. This World AIDS Day, we must recommit and re-energize all sectors of society to center equity within our HIV response by ensuring that everyone with HIV and those at-risk for infection have access to appropriate HIV testing, treatment, and prevention services. We encourage everyone to get an HIV test and to help us combat HIV-related stigma. As we work to implement the National HIV AIDS Strategy, this year’s theme reminds us that the time has come to act, and for all of us to put ourselves to the test of ending HIV.”