The purpose of this Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (K01) is threefold. This award will allow me to: 1) learn three new skill sets: quantitative and mixed methodologies;multilevel modeling;and the integration of qualitative data and advanced quantitative modeling data;2) broaden my understanding of substance use and HIV among substance users in a new cultural and environmental context (the US/Mexico border);and 3) facilitate my transition to becoming a productive NIH-funded independent investigator at the University of California San Diego. The training aims will be accomplished through a combination of specific workshops and coursework, a hands-on research project, and one-on-one mentoring with a Training Committee comprised of experts in the areas of HIV prevention research among vulnerable substance using populations, qualitative and mixed methods research, multilevel modeling, ethics, and drug use epidemiology research in international contexts (and specifically the US/Mexico border region).
The research aims will be accomplished by conducting a mixed-methods study of social and structural aspects of sex work environments influencing HIV risk among male clients of FSW in Tijuana, Mexico. The research will be conducted as an independent adjunct to an existing NIH/NIDA-funded R01, DA029008 ("Safer Sex Intervention for Male Clients of Female Sex Workers in Tijuana, Mexico" aka Hombre Seguro, PI: Thomas Patterson), in order to capitalize on the infrastructure and expertise represented by that project. The US/Mexico border is experiencing a burgeoning HIV epidemic, concentrated among high-risk groups such as FSW, male clients, and drug users. While researchers have long applied mixed methods to HIV/STI prevention, few researchers have integrated rich information gleaned from qualitative methods with advanced statistical methods like multilevel, or hierarchical linear modeling. Further, researchers have yet to utilize mixed methods to provide a nuanced, contextual understanding of which sub-groups do and do not benefit from risk reduction interventions, as well as why and how. The proposed research will allow me to apply newly acquired skills in qualitative and mixed methods and integrating qualitative and multilevel modeling data to explore risk environments factors surrounding substance use in the context of sex with FSW in sex work venues. This work will be conducted in a particularly high-risk population (in Tijuana, HIV prevalence among female sex workers is 6% and 5% for male clients). Findings from the proposed research will be critical for developing multi-level interventions for substance using populations at risk for HIV in border regions and other international settings, and for the development of future mixed methods research integrating advanced quantitative techniques with qualitative approaches in HIV prevention. Further, developing skills in qualitative and mixed methods, and multilevel modeling will uniquely position me as one of only a handful of mixed-methods researchers in the field of substance use and sex work possessing such skills, and the only one in the Division of Global Public Health and the University of California San Diego.

Public Health Relevance

The US/Mexico border region is home to an evolving HIV epidemic among vulnerable groups such as female sex workers, male clients, and drug users, but little research has assessed the role of contextual (e.g., social and structural) factors influencing substance use and the transmission of HIV in this region. Findings from the proposed research will be critical to bi-national efforts to develop tailored, multi-level intervenion for substance users, including male clients and FSW, at risk for HIV and other negative consequences of substance use, and for the development of future long-term research into the influence of context on HIV risk among high risk populations. Further, developing skills in qualitative and mixed methods, and multilevel modeling will uniquely position me as one of only a handful of mixed-methods researchers in the field of substance use and sex work possessing such skills, and the only one in the Division of Global Public Health and the University of California San Diego.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Type
Research Scientist Development Award - Research & Training (K01)
Project #
1K01DA036447-01
Application #
8602986
Study Section
Behavioral and Social Science Approaches to Preventing HIV/AIDS Study Section (BSPH)
Program Officer
Jenkins, Richard A
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
1
Fiscal Year
2014
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Name
University of California San Diego
Department
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Type
Schools of Medicine
DUNS #
City
La Jolla
State
CA
Country
United States
Zip Code
92093
Goodman-Meza, David; Pitpitan, Eileen V; Semple, Shirley J et al. (2014) Hazardous drinking and HIV-risk-related behavior among male clients of female sex workers in Tijuana, Mexico. Am J Addict 23:502-9