Researchers at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health have received a five-year, $9.5 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to continue research on possible connections between substance abuse and HIV infection. The new phase of the study began this month; it continues work that started in 2013 with a $7 million grant from NIDA.
Approximately two-thirds of new HIV infections in the U.S. occur among Latino and African-American men who have sex with men; and studies show that drug abuse is linked with poor adherence to HIV medication and prevention therapies.
The grant will enable researchers to continue collecting demographic, behavioral and clinical data from more than 500 Latino and African-American men who have sex with men and who are either HIV-positive or HIV-negative. The scientists will work to understsand the effects of substance use (including use of alcohol, cannabis and stimulants such as methamphetamine, and illicit use of prescription drugs and opioids such as heroin and fentanyl) on the acquisition and progression of HIV.
The study is being led by Pamina Gorbach, a UCLA professor of epidemiology.