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HIV Testing among Men Who Have Sex with Men in the Northeastern US

This study, headed by Tyler Wray, assistant professor of behavioral and social sciences, and published in Aids and Behavior, examined rates and predictors of having tested for HIV within CDC-recommended intervals among MSM in the northeastern U.S. who were recruited from several online sources. Researchers explored whether certain demographic and behavioral factors were associated with having tested within at least the minimum recommended interval of 12 months, as well as those that were associated with having tested at the more optimal recommended interval of every six months. READ MORE

MSM at Highest Risk for HIV Express Greater Preference for Injectable Antiretroviral PrEP Compared to Daily, Oral Medication

Men who have sex with men (MSM) account for nearly 70% of new HIV diagnoses, with young black MSM at the highest risk for infection in the US. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) can decrease HIV acquisition in at-risk individuals by over 90%. However, therapeutic efficacy requires a daily pill, posing adherence challenges. Experimental modalities, including injectable PrEP given once every two months, may improve adherence among those most in need. This study, published by AIDS and Behavior, and spearheaded by lead author Katie Biello, assistant professor of behavioral and social sciences and epidemiology, aimed to assess differences in interest in and preference for oral versus injectable PrEP, and reasons for not being interested in injectable PrEP, among a national sample of MSM in the U.S. READ MORE

Conditional Economic Incentives Reduce Sexually Transmitted Infection Risks in Mexico

Conditional economic incentives (CEIs), previously used for poverty alleviation and economic development, are now being utilized as an intervention strategy specifically targeted to people who are highly vulnerable to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. CEIs involve reinforcing positive behavioral change through using cash or other material incentives in exchange for meeting specific behavioral goals or conditions. There is growing evidence from numerous studies that suggests CEIs can reduce HIV/STI risks, however researchers have not yet investigated whether incentives are a feasible and acceptable intervention strategy for men who have sex with men, a key population at risk for HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections. This study, led by Omar Galarraga and published in AIDS and Behavior, associate professor of health services, policy, and practice, tested the feasibility and acceptability of a conditional economic incentive intervention for male sex workers in Mexico City. READ MORE

Inquiry on Telephone-Delivered Mindfulness Training for People Living with HIV

For people living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA), life stress often undermines quality of life and interferes with medical care. Stress management interventions seek to help PLWHA to cope more adaptively with life stressors. Recently, mindfulness-based interventions have been implemented in the context of chronic illness. Mindfulness training (MT) involves teaching people to focus their attention on both internal (e.g., sensations, thoughts, emotions), and external (e.g., sounds) events unfolding in the present, in a non-judgmental way. Overall, extant studies of MT in the context of HIV disease have been limited methodologically by small sample sizes, low numbers of female participants, non-random assignment, inadequate comparison conditions, and relatively short follow-ups. Given these challenges, researchers were interested in exploring the adaptation of MT to the unique needs of PLWHA. This study, authored by Rochelle K. Rosen, assistant professor of behavioral and social sciences, sought to explore telephone delivery as a potentially more feasible approach for MT. READ MORE

Partner Notification for Youth Living with HIV in 14 Cities in the United States

Nearly one in four youth living with HIV in the U.S. don’t notify sex or drug-use partners about potential HIV exposure - despite medical professionals and others urging them to do so, a study of teens and young adults by Jacob van den Berg, Assistant Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences, suggests. This high-risk population continues to contract HIV at alarming rates, so identifying individuals unaware of their infection is imperative to prevent further transmission, as well as to link and retain patients into medical care, the study team writes in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency SyndromeREAD MORE

HIV patients sticking with therapy longer, Medicaid data show

A large study based on Medicaid data identifies a clear trend of people staying on their HIV medications longer than they used to. “This represents a lot of people who are not dying and not infecting others,” said Dr. Ira Wilson, corresponding author of the new study in AIDS and chair of the department of Health Services Policy and Practice.  “These differences represent tremendous, very real benefit.” READ MORE

Curbing alcohol to fight HIV could save money in Kenya

Public health research shows that alcohol may be a factor in more than 13 percent of deaths due to infectious diseases, including HIV. Drinking undermines the fight against the virus in two main ways, researchers have found: it makes transmission through risky sex more likely and undermines health by relaxing the rigor with which infected people take virus-suppressing medicine. READ MORE

Review of Neighborhood Environments and Sexual Risk Behaviors for HIV Infection in U.S. Women

The associations between neighborhood environments and HIV sexual risk behaviors among U.S. women are mixed, according to a new review published in AIDS and Behavior and led by Chanelle Howe, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology. READ MORE

Long Term Alcohol Use Patterns Associated with HIV Disease Severity

Long-term patters of alcohol use are associated with HIV disease severity, according to a new study led by Brandon Marshall, Manning Assistant Professor of Epidemiology. Between 2002 and 2010, the researchers assessed alcohol consumption and HIV disease severity among men and women infected with HIV participating in the Veterans Aging Cohort Study. The results of this study, published in AIDS, suggest that long-term alcohol consumption and HIV disease severity are linked and interrelated in this group of veterans infected with HIV.  READ MORE

Effectiveness of Peer-Led Interventions to Increase HIV Testing Among Men Who Have Sex with Men

Globally, men who have sex with men (MSM) are disproportionally affected by HIV infection. Incidence of HIV among MSM remains steadily high, despite declines in the general population and increasing benefits of antiretroviral therapy (ART) for the management of HIV. In addition, rates of HIV testing among MSM have stayed low worldwide, as have their rates of access to HIV prevention and care services. Engagement in HIV care has the potential to improve health outcomes and greatly reduce onward transmission of infection. To benefit fully from treatment however, individuals need to first be aware of their HIV status. The purpose of this systematic review and meta-analysis, published in AIDS Careand led by Sylvia Shangani, doctoral student in the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences, was to summarize evidence on the effectiveness of peer-led interventions to increase the uptake of HIV testing among MSM. READ MORE

Longitudinal Study of Persistent Smoking among HIV-Positive Gay and Bisexual Men

Tobacco use continues to be one of the leading causes of preventable morbidity and premature mortality and is a well-recognized risk factor for chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, and cancer. In HIV-positive gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, smoking is a highly prevalent behavior that, in addition to more general adverse outcomes, has been linked to an increased likelihood of HIV-related medical complications and has been shown to negatively impact immune and virologic response. However, smoking cessation rates among this population remain low. Within couples affected by HIV, primary partners play a positive role in HIV-related outcomes. The purpose of this study, published in Addictive Behaviors and led by Kristi Gamarel, Assistant Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences, was to longitudinally assess smoking status in a population of HIV-positive men in same-sex relationships, and the impact of partner smoking status. READ MORE

The Acceptability of Specific Sociocentric Study Procedures among Racially/Ethnically Diverse MSM

The purpose of this study, published in AIDS Care and led by Katie Biello, assistant professor of behavioral and social sciences and epidemiology, and faculty member in the Center for Health Equity Research, was to conduct qualitative interviews and brief surveys with sexually active Black, Hispanic/Latino, and White MSM to assess the acceptability and feasibility of potential procedures for a sociocentric sexual network study. READ MORE

Alcohol Predicts Elevation in Inflammatory Maker Soluble CD14 in Men Living with HIV

Among the 1.2 million people living with HIV infection in the US, 65% used alcohol in the past year, and 15% reported binge drinking in the past month. Independently, HIV infection and heavy alcohol use promote microbial translocation, the movement of gut microbial products into systemic circulation. Gut immune dysfunction and microbial translocation are linked to chronic immune activation, a defining feature of HIV infection that predicts disease progression independent of viral load. At the same time, alcohol and its metabolites cause microbial translocation by increasing gut permeability and promoting oxidative stress. The purpose of this study, led by Mollie A. Monnig, Assistant Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences and published in AIDS Care, was to investigate microbial translocation and immune activation as a function of alcohol use in a sample of 21 heavy drinking, HIV-positive men. read more

The Prevalence and Correlates of Substance Use among Youth Living with HIV

HIV infection disproportionately affects young people, with individuals 16-24 years of age demonstrating the highest rates of new HIV infections. Several studies have documented a high prevalence of substance use behaviors among young people living with HIV, which carries a host of general health risks as well as repercussions for those with HIV, including increased condomless sex and suboptimal adherence to antiretroviral therapy. The purpose of this study, published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence and led Kristi Gamarel, Assistant Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences, was to assess the prevalence of substance use behaviors in a population of 2216 youth living with HIV, and to examine the associations between several substances, sociodemographic and structural factors, comorbid psychological distress, and HIV disease and sexual risk characteristics. READ MORE

The Characteristics of Intermittent and Daily Smokers in a Sample of Heavy-drinking, HIV-infected MSM

The prevalence of cigarette smoking remains high among persons living with HIV, in particular among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men. Smoking among persons living with HIV has been linked to increased rates of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other pulmonary diseases. The purpose of this study, published in AIDS Care and led by Patricia Cioe, assistant professor of behavioral and social sciences, was to compare the quit intentions of daily smokers and intermittent smokers, in a population of heavy-drinking, HIV-infected men who have sex with men. read more

The Role of Discrimination in Alcohol-Related Problems in Heavy Drinking Men Who Have Sex with Men 

This study, published in Drug and Alcohol Dependenceby Tyler Wray, assistant professor of behavioral and social sciences, and colleagues, used path modeling to explore associations between perceived discrimination experiences, drinking motives, alcohol use, and alcohol-related problems in samples of heavy drinking MSM with and without HIV. read more

The Clinical Care of Incarcerated People with HIV, Viral Hepatitis, or Tuberculosis

In a comprehensive review published in The Lancet, Dr. Josiah Rich, Professor of Epidemiology, and colleagues, discuss available literature on the topic of clinical management of people infected with HIV, hepatitis B and C viruses, and tuberculosis in incarcerated settings in addition to co-occurrence of one or more of these infections. read more