The Development Core of CHIPTS is pleased to announce the 2014 CHIPTS Pilot grants have been awarded, anticipating funding as of February, 2014 from the National Institute of Mental Health.  The program aims to prepare CHIPTS researchers and its collaborative partners to develop innovative research, consistent with or related to the CHIPTS priorities of eliminating HIV in Los Angeles County and to seed funding for larger research projects and intervention programs

Applicants were encouraged to propose domestic social, behavioral and policy research studies relevant to HIV/AIDS in Los Angeles County, from faculty investigators, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students at CHIPTS affiliated institutions (i.e., UCLA and Friends Research Institute). A total of $100,000 was available to fund Investigator awards up to $30,000 and postdoctoral and graduate student awards up to $15,000.

We propose to fund five meritorious proposals, which included three faculty level awards and two post-doctoral awards.  The projects include:


Risk Behaviors of Drug Offending HIV+ MSM: Theodore Gideonse (PI), Tom Coates (Faculty Sponsor)

HIV positive MSM who are drug offenders are an understudied population prone to health behaviors potentially dangerous to themselves as well as their communities.  This study will compare HIV risk behaviors of HIV positive men who have recently completed one of three major interventions available for drug offenders in Los Angeles: incarceration or jail; probation and diversion to drug treatment; and participation in drug court.  The results of the work will help yield hypotheses concerning mechanisms for encouraging or discouraging HIV and other risk behaviors as well as to assess the  feasibility of conducting a larger trial to address this community’s needs.


Formative Research to Advance Smartphone-based HIV Prevention for BYMSM: Ian Holloway (PI), Raphy Landovitz, John Williams, David Novak

This pilot seeks to better understand the preferences for smartphone-based interventions as a method to promote HIV testing and linkage to appropriate HIV services among Black young men who have sex with men (YMSM).  Black YMSM continue to be disproportionately impacted by HIV in Los Angeles County despite current prevention efforts, demonstrating the need for innovative, culturally congruent interventions. This research has high public health significance as it will lead to the development of an easily accessible, culturally relevant, and technology-based intervention for this highly at-risk population.


Assessing Acceptability of In-home Tests for MSM Through World Café: Sung-Jae Lee (PI)

This pilot study will provide a vital first step in providing population-specific data among MSM of color on barriers to HIV testing using in –home HIV test. The expected results will be used in development of larger study grant proposals to design and pilot an intervention to be integrated into the existing in-home test kit to facilitate HIV testing among at-risk MSM of color in Los Angeles.


Behavioral Risk Factor Survey Among Male–to-Female Transgender Inmates, Los Angeles County Jail: Mark Malek (PI)

Approximately 40% of male-to-female transgender persons in the Los Angeles County Jail’s (LACJ) transgender housing unit are HIV positive.  This project involves conducting a behavioral risk factor survey among the transgender individuals of the LACJ’s transgender housing unit.  The goals are to identify, describe, and quantify unique behavioral risk characteristics; to compare characteristics among HIV positive and negative transgender persons, and to establish accurate HIV/STI estimates.


Feasibility of Using Social Media and eCommerce to Increase In-home HIV Testing: Robert Marlin (PI), Jeff Klausner (Faculty Sponsor)

Innovative HIV prevention approaches are in critical need to control the spread of HIV in Los Angeles County particularly among communities with high rates of undiagnosed HIV infection, such as Black MSM.  This project examines the feasibility of using social media aimed at Black MSM to promote vouchers for in-home HIV tests that can be redeemed online; establish an electronic voucher redemption system with an online retailer; and to utilize voucher tracking and phone surveys to determine which methods of voucher promotion and redemption have the highest acceptability and lead to an uptake in HIV testing.