The Behavioral &Social Sciences Core (BSSC) is structured to provide services that facilitate interdisciplinary AIDS research among established, new, and transitional investigators. Although the BSSC Core does not direct the science of the behavioral AIDS program at Penn, our Core services are guided by a set of scientific priorities and principals that program members have identified as crucial to scientific discovery, translation, and public health impact. These priorities include investigations that seek to define, measure^""ahd"^xparrd"the~understahding"of the role of contextual factors (e.g. social, sexual, and drug using networks;community/geography;Mental health and substance abuse) within which HIV transmission occurs and infection exists. These factors are viewed as critical to understanding risk of infection, access and adherence to treatment. The BSS Core at Penn is also well positioned to expand the role of behavioral sciences in the design and evaluation of clinical trials of biomedical interventions (microbicides, vaccines, and therapeutics) and to facilitate scientific collaborations with other investigators (behavioral and interdisciplinary), both domestically and internationally is critical to the development of sustainable programs of AIDS research. The Core plans to accomplish its objectives through the delivery of services which include: 1) Research application and implementation support.through the provision of consultation on AIDS research application as investigators conceptualize and prepare applications for funding;2) Behavioral and biological assessment services to facilitate the expanded use of biological assays in behavioral research;3) Target population services to identify and recruit populations and individuals of scientific relevance to AIDS research;4) Support for the Penn CFAR Community Advisory Board (CAB) to develop a highly visible and active agenda of community education and research;and 5) Educational activities to stimulate integrated biological and behavioral research and advance our scientific priorities.
The Behavioral &Social Sciences Core will use its resources to facilitate research initiatives that have the potential to develop and expand effective strategies that prevent HIV transmission, improve early identification and access to care, and enhace adherence to treatment.
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