Yale University

Yale-Community Partnership Hatches Vital HIV Prevention Research from Seed

Drs. Tami Sullivan (pictured left) and Jaimie Meyer are the latest CIRA affiliates to successfully turn a pilot project into a full-scale HIV prevention research project.

Sullivan, an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Director of Family Violence Research and Programs at Yale School of Medicine and Meyer, an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Yale School of Medicine and Clinical Assistant Professor of Nursing at Yale School of Nursing, received the award from the National Institute of Mental Health for their project Identifying Modifiable Risk and Protective Processes at the Day-Level that Predict HIV Care Outcomes Among Women Exposed to Partner Violence.

Former CIRA post-doctoral fellow and current pilot grantee Dr. Meyer co-leads the new R01 with Dr. Sullivan as multiple Principal Investigators.

The project, which focuses on adult women living with HIV who have been exposed to intimate partner violence, will identify factors that affect daily adherence to antiretroviral therapy and clinical engagement, such as violence exposure, substance use, emotion regulation and self-efficacy. The work also aims to characterize women’s daily lived experiences with intimate partner violence (IPV) and HIV that affect retention in care and viral suppression.

The five-year R01 study marks the next phase following CIRA Pilot Project with a research group including Dr. Nathan Hansen, University of Georgia, and Shawn Lang of AIDS Connecticut.

"We are grateful to the Center for enabling the early steps in understanding the influence of IPV on HIV engagement in care, including the abusive partners interference, mental health and substance abuse issues," said Sullivan, who worked with Hansen and Lang to study the viability of AIDS service organizations and housing programs to screen for and address IPV.

A curriculum developed during the pilot also led Lang to participate as a member of the National HIV and Domestic Violence Steering Committee.

A central aim of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS is to develop the next generation of HIV and mental health researchers and to expand and disseminate scientific knowledge on the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS.

In the last seven years alone, CIRA has funded twenty pilot projects, resulting in an additional 28 grant applications, with nine of these securing funding from the National Institutes of Health and others. These pilots have also generated 29 scholarly manuscripts and 42 conference presentations.

On average, 75% of CIRA's pilots have been awarded to junior investigators, with over a quarter going to fellows of the Yale AIDS Prevention Training Program, the Center’s in-house fellowship that supports pre- and postdoctoral scholars in their career development.

The Center is currently seeking letters of intent as part of its 2020 Pilot Project Program. Applicants should complete the online survey by Friday, March 27.

CIRA was established in 1997 and is currently New England's only National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) funded AIDS research center [grant number: P30MH062294].

Published: Thursday, March 19, 2020