In the United States, an estimated 20 million people acquire a sexually transmitted disease (STD) each year, leading to $16 billion in health care costs. Globally, 35 million people live with HIV infection, including 1.1 million in the US. The classical STDs and HIV infection share modes of transmission, and consequently, opportunities for prevention. Thus, integrating research and training in STDs and HIV is logical and strategically appropriate. At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), interdisciplinary training in STDs and HIV is conducted through the Training Program in Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) and HIV, currently in its 38th year of support from NIH. Of the living trainees since 1990, 91% of predoctoral and 83% of postdoctoral trainees remain engaged in research, education, or public health activities. In the ongoing cycle of support, we have trained 17 predoctoral and 13 postdoctoral trainees, including four African Americans and two Latinos/Hispanics. Among those that have completed training in the ongoing cycle, all are actively engaged in research or public health activities. The training program supports 6 predoctoral and 4 postdoctoral (MD or PhD) trainees. Predoctoral trainees supported by three academic departments (Microbiology & Immunology, Epidemiology, and Health Behavior); postdoctoral trainees are also supported in the Division of Infectious Diseases. The training faculty comprises 30 members in these four academic units, with support from an additional seven clinical and laboratory resource faculty members. Our training program has three primary goals: 1) Train pre- and post-doctoral trainees to conduct outstanding STD/HIV research; 2) Foster the development of the skills necessary to conduct productive interdisciplinary research; 3) Facilitate professional growth and development to ensure academic and research success. Our program incorporates a research project with a primary mentor in one of four core areas: STD/HIV Pathogenesis & Immunology; Clinical Research in STD/HIV; Epidemiology of STD/HIV; and Behavioral Interventions for STD/HIV. Our program focuses on interdisciplinary activities to foster the trainees' potential for impactful research. Oral and written communication is emphasized, with careful attention to communication outside of the trainee's specific content area. All trainees participate in the STD/HIV seminar, which incorporates both substantive content related to STD/HIV and professional development. This renewal significantly expands the focus on professional development to enhance the retention and success of our trainees in STD/HIV research. Training is individualized using individual development plans. The training program includes a robust evaluation plan, incorporating individual review of the trainees and short- and long-term review of the program. Program evaluation will also include an external advisory board of leading STD/HIV researchers. In summary, the trainees in the UNC STD/HIV Training Program are expected to go on to highly successful careers, conducting interdisciplinary research, and shaping the field of STDs and HIV infection.

Public Health Relevance

Sexually transmitted diseases (STD), including HIV infection, cause substantial morbidity and mortality. To reduce the impact of STD, researchers must be able to work in interdisciplinary teams, bridging basic science, clinical medicine, epidemiology, and behavioral science. This training grant provides training to doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows, including physicians, to create a cadre of young scientists with the skills needed to reduce the burden of STD in the US and worldwide.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Microbiology and Infectious Diseases B Subcommittee (MID)
Program Officer
Coomes, Stephanie
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
Chapel Hill
United States
Zip Code
Conserve, Donaldson F; Alemu, Dawit; Yamanis, Thespina et al. (2018) ""He Told Me to Check My Health"": A Qualitative Exploration of Social Network Influence on Men's HIV Testing Behavior and HIV Self-Testing Willingness in Tanzania. Am J Mens Health 12:1185-1196
Potempa, Marc; Lee, Sook-Kyung; Kurt Yilmaz, Nese et al. (2018) HIV-1 Protease Uses Bi-Specific S2/S2' Subsites to Optimize Cleavage of Two Classes of Target Sites. J Mol Biol 430:5182-5195
Hill, Lauren M; Abler, Laurie; Maman, Suzanne et al. (2018) Hope, the Household Environment, and Sexual Risk Behaviors Among Young Women in Rural South Africa (HPTN 068). AIDS Behav 22:1908-1918
Learner, Emily R; Torrone, Elizabeth A; Fine, Jason P et al. (2018) Chlamydia Prevalence Trends Among Women and Men Entering the National Job Training Program From 1990 Through 2012. Sex Transm Dis 45:554-559
Lee, Jennifer S; Cole, Stephen R; Achenbach, Chad J et al. (2018) Cancer risk in HIV patients with incomplete viral suppression after initiation of antiretroviral therapy. PLoS One 13:e0197665
Davy-Mendez, Thibaut; Eron, Joseph J; Brunet, Laurence et al. (2018) New antiretroviral agent use affects prevalence of HIV drug resistance in clinical care populations. AIDS 32:2593-2603
Mills, Jon C; Pence, Brian W; Todd, Jonathan V et al. (2018) Cumulative Burden of Depression and All-Cause Mortality in Women Living With Human Immunodeficiency Virus. Clin Infect Dis 67:1575-1581
Lancaster, Kathryn E; MacLean, Sarah A; Lungu, Thandie et al. (2018) Socioecological Factors Related to Hazardous Alcohol use among Female Sex Workers in Lilongwe, Malawi: A Mixed Methods Study. Subst Use Misuse 53:782-791
Stoner, Marie C D; Edwards, Jessie K; Miller, William C et al. (2018) Does Partner Selection Mediate the Relationship Between School Attendance and HIV/Herpes Simplex Virus-2 Among Adolescent Girls and Young Women in South Africa: An Analysis of HIV Prevention Trials Network 068 Data. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 79:20-27
Pence, Brian W; Mills, Jon C; Bengtson, Angela M et al. (2018) Association of Increased Chronicity of Depression With HIV Appointment Attendance, Treatment Failure, and Mortality Among HIV-Infected Adults in the United States. JAMA Psychiatry 75:379-385

Showing the most recent 10 out of 268 publications