Study seeks to understand how transmission risks change over time
HIV-positive men infected within the past year are sought by UCLA’s Behavioral Epidemiology Research Group (BERG), part of the UCLA School of Public Health, to participate in a new research study aimed at understanding and reducing sexual behaviors that may lead to HIV transmission.
Called MetroMates, the study will measure the behaviors of recently HIV-infected men and their sexual partners during the first year following diagnosis. It is one of the first studies to look at sexual partnerships by actively recruiting recently infected men along with their partners.
The study offers a screening to newly diagnosed men to identify if they were recently infected. The goal is to enroll 150 recently HIV-infected men who have sex with men, along with up to 6 of their sexual partners, and follow them for a year to determine how different sex partners affect drug use and the risk for HIV transmission.
“What makes MetroMates unique is that it allows us to look at exactly how behavior changes over time, especially during the period of high infectiousness following sero-conversion. It will also help us understand transmission to partners based on who the partners are, whether online, anonymous, trade, main partner, or casual, and the behaviors of the partners themselves—such as drug use, or sex trade,” said Pamina Gorbach, an associate professor of Epidemiology and the principal investigator of the study.
The results will be used in special mathematical models that will allow for a better understanding of behavior change by men with recent HIV infection. The models were developed in consultation with epidemiologists, medical doctors, psychologists and statisticians. This new information will be a key for designing new ways to target risk reduction specifically for recently HIV-infected men.
The project is funded by a 5-year grant from the National Institutes of Health and offers participants financial incentives for each visit along with a battery of STI tests.
For more information on how to enroll in the MetroMates research study, contact Leonardo Colemon, study director, at 310-794-0619 x232, or via e-mail at [email protected]. Study website address: http://metromates.bol.ucla.edu/.
BERG is a collaborative group of researchers who focus on sexually transmitted infections including HIV and related issues such as sexual risk and health behaviors, microbicide feasibility and acceptability, HIV/STI prevention/treatment, and substance use practices. BERG works in diverse communities conducting research in partnership with community agencies, clinics, research organizations, universities, and public health departments. For more information, visit http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/faculty/gorbach/berg.html
The UCLA School of Public Health is dedicated to enhancing the public's health by conducting innovative research, training future leaders and health professionals, translating research into policy and practice, and serving local, national and international communities. For more information, see http://www.ph.ucla.edu/.