August 24, 2011

Recent awards through the NIDA International Program Announcements (PA) on International Research Collaboration on Drug Abuse and Addiction Research will support four research teams investigating drug-related HIV:

  • Julia Dickson-Gomez, Ph.D., Medical College of Wisconsin, and Mauricio Gaborit, Ph.D., Universidad Centroamericana José Simeón Cañas, El Salvador, will test a multilevel community-based intervention to increase HIV testing and reduce sexual risk behaviors among crack users in San Salvador. Social network HIV testing will be conducted in four low-income community clinics in the region, and peer leaders will be trained to recruit and lead the intervention among 400 crack users. The researchers will use both quantitative and qualitative methods to assess the impact of the intervention on community capacity, the reach and intensity of the intervention, and population-level behavior changes among crack users. The team also will conduct organizational and community-level assessments to assess the translation, scale up, and sustainability of this evidence-based intervention in a real-world setting. The award is a competitive renewal of the team’s previous R01 grant.
  • Biological and behavioral data from nine longitudinal, prospective studies of injection drug users (IDUs) will be merged with data on incident HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection outcomes under a new international collaboration led by Kimberly Page, Ph.D., University of California, San Francisco. The merged data pool includes 4,091 IDUs who have been followed for a collective 9,016 person-years of observation, 859 incident HCV infections with longitudinal follow-up, and 575 HIV infections, offering the statistical power needed to draw conclusions about temporal trends in HIV and HCV incidence, examine HCV incidence by HIV status and sexual behavior, estimate rates and determinants of HCV viral clearance and reinfection, examine the effects of HCV infection disclosure on risk behaviors, and evaluate outcomes related to clinical treatment of acute HCV in IDUs. Researchers from Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, and United States will use the new R01 award to conduct new, secondary analyses on the merged data, and they have committed to long-term cooperation in epidemiology, behavioral studies, clinical research, and laboratory science.
  • Steffanie Strathdee, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego, and María Remeidos Lozada Romero, M.D., M.P.H., ProCOMUSIDA, Mexico, will conduct a longitudinal, mixed-methods study to address the impact of Mexican drug policy reform on the HIV risk and protective factors among IDUs in Tijuana. In 2010, a Mexican law decriminalized possession of small amounts of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and marijuana for personal use. The law requires Mexican police to track the number of times an individual is apprehended in possession of these decriminalized amounts of controlled substances; after three apprehensions, the individual must enter drug treatment to avoid incarceration. The research team will track outcomes among 750 IDUs over 6 years to assess: (1) changes in knowledge, attitudes, and experiences about the new law and the impact of those changes on drug-using behaviors and treatment readiness; (2) trends in drug use behaviors; (3) health risks and protective behaviors; (4) incidence and experiences with voluntary and involuntary drug treatment, including the proportion of drug users choosing treatment over incarceration; and (5) law enforcement practices and interactions with IDUs. The award is a competitive renewal of the team’s previous R01 grant.
  • Under an R21 small grant award, Avelardo Valdez, Ph.D., University of Houston, and Guillermina Natera Rey, Ph.D., Instituto Nacional de Psiquiatría Ramon de la Fuente Muñiz, Mexico, will conduct a social epidemiological study on the emergence and spread of crack in the Federal District of Mexico. The team will interview 150 adults who self-report smoking crack to explore the processes associated with the initiation and rapid spread of crack use and related high-risk sexual and drug-using behaviors. Results of that analysis will contribute to the development of a theory-based intervention for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections in this population.

Find out more about the International Research Collaboration on Drug Abuse and Addiction Research Program Announcements.