Yasmeen Khan, a third year student from Brooklyn College, and Benjamin M. Brucker, a second year medical student at the University of Pennsylvania, recently completed internships at ACRIA. Benjamin was supported by a fellowship from the New York Academy of Medicine, and Yasmeen received a scholarship from the Jewish Foundation for Education of Women.
Under the supervision of ACRIA's Medical Director and Associate Director of Research, Benjamin has developed an assessment survey to determine how a patient's connection, or lack of connection, to their community correlates with adherence to the rigorous treatment regimens for HIV/AIDS. Does community support, such as friends and neighbors, assist them in adherence? Are people who are isolated less adherent in taking their medications? This ongoing ACRIA research study is focusing on patients who attend the HIV/AIDS Harlem United Day Center.
Yasmeem's research project was to develop a compendium of statistics from the Web that describe the incidence of HIV/AIDS in college-aged students (18-25 years of age). She also assembled a list of questions from the Web that are used to assess HIV/AIDS knowledge levels. From that large inventory, questions have been selected that are appropriate for college-aged students. ACRIA plans to use this survey to study knowledge levels about HIV/AIDS in a number of ethnic groups of college students. Brooklyn College has one of the largest and most diverse number of ethnic student clubs making this research possible. How do levels of knowledge affect risk-taking behavior in college students with different cultural backgrounds? ACRIA is trying to assess whether there are varying levels of knowledge about HIV across different cultures and how this might affect risk-taking behaviors.
ACRIA has initiated a Phase II clinical trial of a new class of anti-HIV drugs called integrase inhibitors. The agent we are studying is in development by Shionogi Pharmaceuticals and GlaxoSmithKline. Our protocol is designed to study the drug's safety, efficacy and pharmacokinetics.
This is an exciting project for ACRIA because integrase inhibitors represent a new opportunity to thwart HIV replication through a substantially different approach than that of existing antiretroviral medications. There are now very few entirely new drug treatment classes being considered for HIV. Integrase inhibitors are designed to block HIV's ability to replicate once it has entered a T cell's nucleus. If these drugs are safe and effective, they offer a promise of helping the many people living with HIV/AIDS across the United States who have developed resistance to the current antiretroviral medications.
ACRIA now has the ability to accept donations and payment for items from the ACRIA store directly online. We just introduced our new Internet donations/purchasing option in October to make it easier for people who want to provide their support via the computer. Eventually, ACRIA would like to conduct fundraising appeals online. Send your e-mail information to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would prefer to receive funding requests by computer rather than by regular mail. If you want to make a donation by credit card and have Internet access, please try out our new system. Of course, ACRIA will continue to warmly welcome any support through the mail.
Check out all of the fabulous art and note cards for sale in the ACRIA store.
This article was provided by AIDS Community Research Initiative of America. It is a part of the publication ACRIA Update. Visit ACRIA's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.