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California: UCLA Receives $7 Million Grant to Investigate Links Between Substance Abuse and HIV Among Minority Men

October 22, 2013

The National Institute on Drug Abuse has awarded $7 million to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), to research the links between substance abuse and HIV among Latino and African-American men who have sex with men (MSM). The research would cover how non-injected drugs and alcohol interact with HIV and other infectious diseases to damage the men's health.

Pamina Gorbach, a professor of epidemiology at UCLA's Fielding School of Public Health and professor of infectious disease at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and Steven Shoptaw, professor of family medicine at the Geffen School and director of the UCLA Campus for Behavioral and Addiction Medicine, would lead the study, called "MSM and Substances Cohort at UCLA Linking Infections Noting Effects" (MASCULINE). The team of clinical researchers, epidemiologists, and other scientists would collaborate to examine direct effects of drug use on HIV acquisition and treatment to determine if and how stimulants and other substances affected the transmission of HIV and other infections among minority MSM with poorly controlled HIV or who were at high risk of being infected.

The Fielding School's Behavioral Epidemiology Research Group would conduct MASCULINE, which would be a companion study to the Multisite AIDS Cohort Study. Study participants would be a cohort of young substance users, including stimulant users, with histories of poor antiretroviral treatment adherence. Researchers plan to test biological influences of substances on immune function. For this purpose, they would establish and maintain a repository of tissue, blood, and fluid samples.

Enrollment in the study would begin in January.

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