NIAID awards CUNY SPH and the University of Miami researchers nearly $4 million to study methamphetamine use and HIV risk in sexual minority men

Researchers from the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy (CUNY SPH) and the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine have been awarded an initial two-year, $3,900,000 grant by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to study meth use and HIV risk in sexual minority men.

Supported by NIAID’s LITE-2 initiative, CUNY SPH Professor Christian Grov, University of Miami Professor Adam Carrico, and colleagues will examine the “where,” “how,” and “why” of meth use and HIV among men who have sex with men. For this landmark study, they will first enroll 5,000 sexual minority men across the United States into a cohort study. And, assuming the team can meet a series of milestones during the first two years of the study, they will become eligible for up to three more years of funding. The study’s broader goals include testing scalable, telehealth motivational enhancement interventions to support PrEP use and meth reduction. In addition, they will determine why meth use is linked to HIV vulnerability by examining if meth-induced alterations in rectal immune function amplify biological vulnerability to HIV.

“We have known for decades that meth use contributes to behavioral disinhibition, which puts people at greater risk for HIV, but now we will also answer questions related to whether meth use increases biological vulnerability,” says Grov, an investigator at the Institute for Implementation Science in Population Health (ISPH) at CUNY SPH. “This could point us toward the development of novel biomedical interventions targeting rectal immune function.”

The project represents the culmination of two decades of research by Drs. Grov and Carrico to address the role of methamphetamine as a pernicious, resurgent driver of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

“We hope that the LITE-2 initiative will guide geographically targeted, comprehensive public health approaches to address meth use as a resurgent driver of the HIV epidemic in sexual minority men,” says Carrico. “It will also yield important insights regarding the effectiveness of motivational enhancement interventions to optimize PrEP use in sexual minority men who use meth.”

Expanded efforts to address meth use are essential to ending the HIV epidemic in the United States. A recent study led by Dr. Grov found that one-in-three new infections among sexual minority men across the U.S. were among those reporting recent meth use.

“We are eager to conduct this exciting project that could build a platform for potentially transformative and multi-pronged approaches to HIV prevention,” says Grov.

Grant #UG3AI169652 (Grov/Carrico)

For media inquiries contact:
Ariana Costakes
Communications Editorial Manager
CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy
[email protected]

About the Institute for Implementation Science in Population Health at the City University of New York
The CUNY Institute for Implementation Science in Population Health (ISPH) was founded on the notion that substantial improvements in population health can be efficiently achieved through better implementation of existing strategies, policies, and interventions across multiple sectors. We study how to translate and scale-up evidence-based interventions and policies within clinical and community settings in order to improve population health and reduce health disparities. CUNY ISPH. Pursuing population health gains through better implementation. www.cunyisph.org. Follow us on Twitter: @CUNYISPH.

About the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy
The CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy (CUNY SPH) is committed to promoting and sustaining healthier populations in New York City and around the world through excellence in education, research, and service in public health and by advocating for sound policy and practice to advance social justice and improve health outcomes for all. For more information, visit sph.cuny.edu.