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HIV/AIDS/TB Research at Yale

HIV positive

Since the first diagnosis in the United States in 1982, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has become a global pandemic with over 35 million people now living with the infection, including more than 1 million people in the US.

The Yale School of Public Health has a long history in research on the disease starting with pioneering efforts in the late 1980s that led to the establishment of one of the first needle exchange programs in the US to interrupt the transmission of the virus through intravenous drug use. The Yale School of Medicine and the Yale School of Nursing have engaged deeply in research, training and service in response to HIV and related conditions such as addiction, Hepatitis C virus (HCV) and tuberculosis in Connecticut and globally.

In 1997 the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS (CIRA), New England's only National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) funded AIDS research center, opened at YSPH. It brings together and supports researchers in innovative, interdisciplinary work focused on the implementation of HIV prevention and treatment and the elimination of HIV disparities.

Today, many studies focus on the effects of stigma and lifestyle on HIV risk, especially among vulnerable populations such as the LGBTQ community, those experiencing interpersonal violence, sex workers, and persons who inject drugs as well as the interaction of HIV with other chronic conditions such as hepatitis, tuberculosis and malaria. Other work focuses on the HIV continuum of care and how community research capacity can strengthen prevention and intervention efforts globally.

Practice-based research and initiatives

Practice-based research and implementation science are at the heart of the mission of YSPH’s Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS. Specific initiatives include:

  • The New England HIV Implementation Science Network, formed in collaboration with the Providence-Boston Center for AIDS Research, fosters academic-practice research collaborations through events and technical assistance. At annual symposia since 2014, approximately 100 HIV researchers have gathered with representatives from health departments, community agencies, and clinical sites to build relationships and strategize research partnerships. Projects resulting from the Network have included grants funded by NIAID, NIMH, and CDC. Some of these projects include:
  • A partnership with APNH: A Place to Nourish Your Health (formerly AIDS Project New Haven) to develop and implement an intervention to engage young Black and Latino gay and bisexual men in HIV prevention. The project, Chat4Change, funded by the CDC and the CT Department of Public Health, will connect young Black and Latino gay and bisexual men to peer ambassadors using popular social networking apps to support conversations about sexual health and community resources.
  • An interdisciplinary team from YSPH, YSM worked with a panel of representatives of community agencies from around Connecticut to develop the Community Research Activity Assessment Tool (CREAT), which assesses the capacity of community-based organizations research activity and capacity. This tool can be used by CBOs to identify areas were additional capacity is needed as well as help guide community and research partnerships and needs.
  • In collaboration with Brown University and The Institute for Community Research (ICR), CIRA conducted a pilot study examining implementation strategies and effectiveness of Partner Notification Services among HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM) in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. Interviews with Disease Intervention Specialists (DIS) focused on current PS protocols and outcomes for each state and those with HIV-positive MSM who had participated in PS for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) explored their experiences and preferences.