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NYUCN receives $2.8 million NIH/NIAID grant to study combination HIV prevention for Kenyan youth

New York University College of Nursing (NYUCN) received a four-year, $ 2.8M grant from the National Institute of Health's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIH/NIAID) to study "Combination HIV Prevention for Kenyan Youth." The grant is a collaboration between NYUCN, the University of Nairobi, and Impact-RDO, a nongovernmental organization in western Kenya. Principal Investigator Ann Kurth notes that HIV prevalence in sub-Saharan Africa is highest of any global region and many infections occur among youth ages 15-24 years.

"Comprehensive HIV prevention in high-burden sub-Saharan African settings must address both HIV and pregnancy among young females, and HIV prevention strategies among males, using evidence-based approaches in combination," said NYUCN Professor Ann Kurth, PhD, CNM, RN. "Settings such as Nyanza Province, western Kenya where there is high HIV prevalence, high fertility rates, early onset of sex, frequent intergenerational sex and low circumcision prevalence are a high priority for developing and evaluating multi-component HIV prevention with a focus on young men and women in order to have a large population impact," she said. "In our qualitative work with the community, addressing HIV prevention for youth is something that the adults stress is of highest priority."

The grant's co-PI is Dr. Irene Inwani, pediatrician at the University of Nairobi.

Kurth's team of biobehavioral and clinical scientists, mathematical modelers, and trial design specialists will look to accomplish the following goals of the grant:

  • Aim 1: Identify gender(sex)-specific drivers of HIV acquisition risk, including pregnancy among females, for youth in sub-Saharan Africa, and interventions to best address those risks;

  • Aim 2: Conduct mathematical modeling to select optimal combination intervention package components and to assess potential population-level impact;

  • Aim 3: In partnership with Impact RDO a highly-productive NGO that is delivering PEPFAR-funded HIV prevention services, develop and pilot a combination HIV prevention package specific for female and for male youth 'MP3-Youth' in Nyanza Province. The team will deliver the MP3-Youth package using community-based mobile health teams. All youth attending the mobile health events will complete an audio computer-assisted self-interview survey. A randomly-selected subset of n=200 youth will be followed longitudinally at 6- and 12-months using cell phone text message surveys to prospectively assess prevention method uptake, adherence, and risk compensation behaviors.

  • Aim 4: Design a phase IV study protocol for testing the effectiveness of a gender-specific youth HIV prevention package in sub-Saharan Africa.

"We will disseminate these research protocol recommendations, and study instruments including the mathematical modeling tool, as a combination prevention intervention research toolkit that others can freely use," said Kurth. "The MP3-Youth study will provide critical information for design and evaluation of combination HIV prevention intervention packages that are sensitive to gender-specific risks among this most-at-risk population in high-HIV burden African settings," she said.


Contact: Christopher James
New York University

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