Current Research Studies

Title: Syndemic Projection among MSM and trans women ages 18-25 in New Jersey
Name: Project 18 (P18)
Institution: Rutgers School of Public Health
Principal Investigator: Perry Halkitis, PhD, MPH
Description: The purpose of this study is to describe syndemic production and sexual health among a total of 100 18-25 racially/ethnically and economically diverse men who have sex with men and transgender women in Newark and other surrounding areas. Syndemics are the related behaviors of, sexual risk-taking, illicit drug use, and mental health burden affecting vulnerable populations. We will examine how these behaviors develop through baseline and additional assessments and describe the patterns of risk as well as the factors which predispose the development of these patterns.

Title: Syndemic Production Among Emergent Adult Men
Name: Project 18 (P18)
Funder: National Institute on Drug Abuse / National Institutes of Health
Dates: 3/1/2009-2/28/2014; 3/1/2014-2/28/2019
Principal Investigator: Perry Halkitis, PhD, MPH
Description: This longitudinal study follows the development of syndemics in a cohort of urban HIV-negative young men who have sex with men in New York City as they transition from adolescence into young adulthood, and apply, test, and further develop a theory of syndemic production to understand the development of both maladaptive and adaptive behavioral outcomes.

Click here for P18 publications

Title: Testing a Model of Resilience to Develop an Intervention for Health Aging in Older HIV-Seropositive Adults
Funder: NYU Provost Office Mega Grants Initiative
Dates: 5/1/2017
Principal Investigators: Perry Halkitis, PhD, MPH, Farzana Kapadia, PhD, MPH & Danielle C. Ompad, PhD
Description: Older (50+) people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) experience increased mental (e.g. depression, stress, anxiety, substance use, etc.) and psychosocial burdens (e.g. ageism, homophobia/homonegatvitiy, diminished social capital and social support, and social isolation, etc.) that exacerbates their physical health (e.g. HIV and HIV-related conditions, other chronic, etc.) and, in turn, diminishes their overall health. These multiple health states comprising overall health are interrelated and influenced by HIV therapies, the aging process, and psychosocial and structural conditions. To ensure the overall health and well-being of older PLWHA, we must attend to HIV and HIV-related conditions as well as mental health, psychosocial burdens and the physical conditions that affect aging adults.
One understudied area of focus is the understanding how resilience may serve to buffer the effects that HIV/HIV therapies, aging, and social/structural conditions have on health. Resilience is operationalized as a trait or characteristic that equips individuals with the ability to buffer against stressful life events and maintain their overall health/well-being. This project aims to evaluate a theoretical model that delineates the role of resilience in relation to the overall health/well-being (mental, physical and social) of older adults living with HIV and against the aforementioned stressors that impact overall health.

Title: Project P18 Viral
Funder: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease/National institutes of Health
Principal Investigators: Farzana Kapadia, PhD, MPH & Danielle C. Ompad, PhD
Description: This ancillary study of HPV and HSV-1 and -2 infection seeks to (1) to detect cases of oral and anal HPV infection through site-specific PCR testing and clinically significant HPV subtype through serotyping and to estimate HPV persistence and clearance rates; (2) to identify uptake and completion of HPV vaccination via a combination of self-reported vaccination history in addition to New York State HPV vaccine registry verification; (3) to determine the prevalence and incidence of HSV-1 and HSV-2 by serology; (4) to estimate HIV risk among YMSM with and without HSV-1 and/or HSV-2 and to assess whether HSV infection explains racial/ethnic disparities in HIV risk; and (5) to determine the extent to which biological, behavioral, psychosocial and social/structural factors explain the likelihood of (a) oral/anal HPV infection, broadly and infection of HPV 6, 11, 16, and 18, specifically; (b) HPV vaccination uptake, (c) HSV-1 and HSV-2 infection, and (d) co-infections of HIV, HSV, and/or HPV. A number of participants will be randomly selected for qualitative interviews to obtain information on knowledge regarding and experiences with HPV and HPV vaccination.

Title: Out in Time: Gay Men Coming of Age Across the Generations
Principal Investigator: Perry N Halkitis, PhD, MS, MPH
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Start Date: 9/1/2016
Description:  This qualitative study examines the lived experiences of three generations of young gay men as they came of age within the socio-political contexts of their times. In-depth interviews will explore how those experiences have shaped their lives thus far, and identify those challenges that are specific to each generation, as well as those that are universal for all generations of young gay men as they come of age.

Title: Pre-exposure prophylaxis and health-related beliefs among sexual minority men (YSMM)
Funder: National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH)
Principal Investigator: Jessica Jaiswal, PhD, MPH
Description: This mixed-methods study seeks to understand how young sexual minority men (YSMM) think about and make decisions around PrEP and PrEP use. Although PrEP is an effective method of HIV prevention, many YSMM do not use it. Previous studies have suggested that slow uptake is related to structural drivers, such as healthcare access (e.g., lack of health insurance, lack of access to prescribing providers), as well as issues related to stigma and mistrust of providers and/or the healthcare system. Exploring sexual and other health-related beliefs, perceptions, and experiences will help inform programming and interventions aimed at increasing PrEP use among this population.

Title: Adult Attachment Insecurity, Minority Stress, and Substance Use among Young Sexual Minority Men (YSMM)
Principal Investigator: Stephanie Cook, DrPH, MPH
Description: The proposed research study aims to understand the social and biological mechanisms linking adult attachment insecurity and daily substance use among YSMM ages 23-26 years old. The goal of this study is to inform the creation of attachment based substance use prevention interventions that will ultimately decrease the high rates of substance use among YSMM.

Title: Ethical Considerations in the Collection of Blood among Young Sexual Minority Men (YSMM)
Principal Investigator: Stephanie Cook, DrPH, MPH
Description: With the increase in empirical research utilizing methodologies that collect blood and/or other biological specimens from populations of sexual minority men (SMM), there is a need to understand the influence of broad consent on research participation. The updated Common Rule regarding broad consent for biological data permits the storage and maintenance of identifiable biospecimens for secondary research if participants give consent for the storage and future use of their biospecimens at the time of collection. Broad consent allows for the use of stored biospecimens for secondary research that may be unrelated to the original intended study topic as well as by researchers from outside institutions. However, the use of broad consent for secondary research with stored biological data within the context of HIV-related research raises ethical considerations, especially among populations disproportionately impacted by HIV, such as young SMM. Thus, this study seeks to examine attitudes about the use of broad consent concerning biospecimens for secondary research among young SMM.

Title: Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis Uptake and Adherence Among Male Sex Workers in Mombassa, Kenya
Funder: MAC AIDS Fund
Dates: 4/01/2016-3/31/2018
Principal Investigator: Peter Navario & Farzana Kapadia, PhD, MPH
Co-Investigator: Perry Halkitis, PhD, MPH
Description: HealthRight International and the Center for Health, Identity, Behavior and Prevention Studies (CHIBPS) will evaluate the efficacy and feasibility of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV infections in a population of male sex workers (MSW) in eastern Kenya. This project aims to be among the first to evaluate the feasibility, acceptability and impact of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) on HIV risk among male sex workers (MSW) in Malindi, Kenya. This project will integrate PrEP into three existing health facilities serving sex workers in Malindi in order to document and analyze its impact on HIV incidence, as well as PrEP uptake, adherence, side effects, cost and other factors that may influence replication and scalability of this potentially transformational intervention.