Among the numerous health disparities disproportionately burdening people of color, sexually transmitted infections (STI) and HIV/AIDS stand out as particularly dramatic examples. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that, nationwide, 48% of all chlamydia cases and 70% of all gonorrhea cases occurred among African Americans, more than 8 to 19 times greater, respectively, than whites. Racial and ethnic minority groups are also disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS: according to CDC data collected from 2001-2005, African Americans accounted for 13% of the adult and adolescent general population and 50.5% of new HIV/AIDS cases. However, we recognize that developing significant prevention science and effective interventions is only the first step toward improving HIV-related health and well-being. Accomplishing our long-term goals of reducing disparities in HIV requires that we involve community partners from the beginning, from formulating research questions to the end of the process, such as evaluating interventions in real life settings. Thus, we must facilitate strong partnership and collaboration between health science scientists and the communities most impacted by HIV. To respond to the domestic HIV epidemic in general and reduce health disparities in HIV prevalence specifically, we propose to build sustainable infrastructure to enable health science research and ultimately improve public health. This application represents a partnership between UCSF Center for AIDS Prevention Studies and the AIDS Project East Bay, a stable community-based organization in a community heavily impacted by HIV (African American community in Oakland, CA). We propose building a consortium of researchers and community partners that will bridge the gap between research and communities, develop trainings and forums to build the capacity of research partners to engage in community-involved research, and leverage existing electronic infrastructure to build support mechanisms for community-involved research. These activities will transform the way in which health science research is conducted in communities, and accelerate the pace, productivity, dissemination, and implementation of HIV health research.
If successful, this project will transform the way in which health science research is conducted in communities, and accelerate the pace, productivity, dissemination, and implementation of HIV health research. As a result, we will be better positioned to improve the health and well-being of African Americans.