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Boston researchers share in $10 million grant to study HIV and alcohol

(Boston) Researchers from Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health (BUSM/BUSPH), Boston Medical Center (BMC), the University of California, San Francisco and the University of Pittsburgh, have joined together to examine the consequences of alcohol on HIV disease. The Uganda Russia Boston Alcohol Network for Alcohol Research Collaboration on HIV/AIDS (URBAN ARCH) will conduct and disseminate interdisciplinary alcohol/HIV research aimed at understanding the consequences of alcohol on HIV disease and advancing clinical approaches to mitigate its harm in the United States and globally. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) is funding this five year consortium of multiple investigators.

To realize this goal, the URBAN ARCH Consortium will incorporate the expertise of researchers in epidemiology, internal medicine, addiction medicine, HIV/AIDS, psychiatry and biostatistics under the leadership of Consortium principal investigator Jeffrey Samet, MD, MA, MPH, professor of medicine at BUSM and chief of the section of internal medicine at BMC, a leader in the field of HIV and clinical addiction medicine.

The Consortium studies will build on three existing HIV-infected cohorts from Boston, Uganda, and Russia with distinctive strengths and well-characterized alcohol consumption patterns. The two international cohorts allow study of clinical issues that would not be possible in the United States, yet have important implications for US HIV-infected populations.

According to Samet, during the four decades of the HIV epidemic, many questions remain about how alcohol use affects HIV clinical manifestations and how approaches beyond antiretroviral treatments might mitigate alcohol-related harms. "Such questions about the complex relationship between HIV and alcohol need to be addressed in order to accelerate the development of more effective treatments," said Samet.

"By utilizing distinctive cohorts in the United States and abroad, the Consortium will be uniquely positioned to provide insights about the relationship of alcohol and HIV infection to improve clinical and public health outcomes for the associated consequences," he added.

Kendall Bryant, PhD, Scientific Collaborator from NIAAA stated that "this is one of six centers of excellence that will be able to address the optimal treatment of comorbidities impacted by alcohol among HIV-infected individuals and is consistent with the multidisciplinary approach laid out in the national AIDS strategic plan."

The other PI's on this project include: Debbie M. Cheng, ScD, BUSPH; Richard Saitz, MD, MPH, BMC/BUSM; Judith A. Hahn, PhD, University of California, San Francisco and Matthew Freiberg, MD, MSc, University of Pittsburgh.


Contact: Gina DiGravio
Boston University Medical Center

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