New York Blood Center Receives $2 Million in NIDA Funding to Develop HIV Self-Testing Intervention
September 16, 2014 / New York, NY – New York Blood Center's Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute (LFKRI) Laboratory of Social and Behavioral Sciences has received a three-year, $2 million grant from the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) to develop and test an HIV self-testing intervention for young, Black, gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men. This groundbreaking study will be led by NYBC's Social and Behavioral Sciences Laboratory Head, Victoria Frye, MPH, DrPH, and Leo Wilton, PhD, Associate Professor of Human Development at Binghamton University. Beryl Koblin, PhD, Head of NYBC's Laboratory of Infectious Disease Prevention, is a Co-Investigator.
“Providing a space for young, gay, Black men to learn the skills needed to conduct HIV self-testing correctly, with the support of a friend or buddy, is a potentially empowering approach to self-care for young, gay Black men,” said Dr. Frye. “The approach also addresses two concerns around self-testing. The first is around correct operation of the HIV self-test, which can affect the accuracy of the test. The second is around receiving a positive test result alone and unsupported. The intervention is designed to address these concerns while promoting consistent self-testing and encouraging young people to take control of their sexual health and well-being.”
“This innovative and culturally grounded HIV prevention intervention will address the critical, multi-layered complexities of the lives of young Black men who have sex with men related to the interface of HIV testing, stigma and marginalization,” noted Dr. Wilton.
Increasing HIV testing rates among young, Black men who have sex with men (MSM) is critical to reducing the disproportionate disease burden in the Black community. The study will test an intervention to increase consistent HIV self-testing among young, Black MSM, using a culturally-grounded and empowerment-based “buddy system” approach. During the brief intervention, trained peer educators support pairs of “buddies” in acquiring the knowledge and skills and motivation needed to correctly operate the HIV self-test, initiate and maintain consistent HIV self-testing (defined as every three months), and support their buddy’s self-testing and sexual and alcohol and drug use risk reduction plans.
New York City is the metropolitan area in the United States with the largest number of newly diagnosed HIV infections among MSM. Between 2001 and 2010, new HIV diagnoses of HIV increased among young MSM, with about half of all new cases among Black MSM. By identifying undiagnosed HIV infection, young, Black MSM living with HIV may be linked to HIV medical care, increasing access to antiretroviral therapy that suppresses the virus and stops progression of HIV disease, and social care that promote health and well-being.
About Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute: Since 1964, LFKRI has led the way in blood research, breaking new ground in transfusion medicine and disease treatment and prevention. The institute is committed to furthering research efforts that support the discovery of new blood-related products, techniques, and therapies. LFKRI's work has dramatically impacted global health, improved blood banking, nurtured a generation of scientists, and added significantly to the world's store of biomedical knowledge. From the beginning, LFKRI has supported basic research to understand blood and disease at the molecular level as well as translational research that transforms the findings into major breakthroughs. With 17 state-of-the-art laboratories and close to 100 researchers, LFKRI brings world-class research to life every day. For further information, visit http://nybloodcenter.org/research/kimball-research-institute/.
About New York Blood Center: New York Blood Center (NYBC) is one of the nation's largest non-profit, community-based blood centers. For 50 years, NYBC has been providing blood, transfusion products and services to hospitals serving more than 20 million people in New York City, Long Island, the Hudson Valley, New Jersey, and parts of Connecticut and Pennsylvania. NYBC is also home to the Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute and the National Cord Blood Program, the world's largest public cord blood bank. NYBC provides medical services and programs (Clinical, Transfusion, and Hemophilia Services) through our medical professionals along with consultative services in transfusion medicine. Please visit us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/newyorkbloodcenter. Follow us on Twitter: @NY_BloodCenter. Website: www.nybloodcenter.org.