The State of Florida has the highest rate of new HIV diagnoses in the US. Its ongoing epidemic is characterized by significant racial disparities and special populations including women and men who have sex with men. The Southern HIV Alcohol Research Consortium (SHARC) was created as a CHAART in 2011 to address the impact of high-risk alcohol consumption on HIV outcomes in Florida. The consortium consists of three independently-funded research projects: a randomized clinical trial of naltrexone in HIV-infected women with high-risk drinking, an ongoing cohort study focusing on the impact of alcohol on neurocognition and aging in HIV, and an immunology study of the direct impact of alcohol (and naltrexone) on immune senescence over time. The projects build upon a successful research infrastructure that has already recruited over 800 persons with HIV in Miami, Florida, share clinical research resources, and have overlapping aims. However, the consortium lacks a central administrative infrastructure or mechanism to support new research as a whole. The SHARC Administrative and Research Support Core, submitted in response to RFA-AA-12-010, is critically needed to ensure coordination and communication across our consortium projects, to form new, multidisciplinary research collaborations, and to extend our research into additional public health settings within Florida.
The specific aims of this Core are (1) to create a self-sustaining, transdisciplinary research consortium addressing HIV and risky alcohol use in Florida (administrative core);(2) to expand our research and clinical trial capacities (research support);and (3) to expand multidisciplinary research and to mentor a new generation of scientists (education). Our investigators bring expertise in clinical trials methodology, clinical epidemiology, immunology, cognitive function, health services research, and exercise. Overall, the Core will support research that has significant impact by maximizing overall research productivity, increasing capacity to conduct clinical trials, enhancing collaborations, mentoring new researchers, and translating findings into clinical practice and public health settings that will improve health outcomes in persons with HIV and high-risk alcohol comorbidities.
This project has significant public health relevance, as the research is located in Florida (which has the highest rate of new HIV diagnoses in the US), the research addresses a significant health issue (HIV and high-risk alcohol comorbidities), and the research seeks to identify intervention strategies that can be readily adopted into routine clinica practice settings, including public health HIV clinics.
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