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UCLA gets $4.6M grant to study HIV treatment, prevention among men from L.A. jails
Date:10/21/2010

A team of UCLA researchers has received a $4.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study ways to get HIV-positive men who have been released from Los Angeles County jails into medical care and on sustained treatment.

The study one of 12 taking place across the nation as part of the NIH's "Seek, Test and Treat: Addressing HIV in the Criminal Justice System" initiative will be a randomized controlled trial of an intervention that seeks to improve the men's health and prevent transmission of HIV to others in their communities.

The project could have a long-term impact on the HIV epidemic in Los Angeles because it focuses on short-term jail inmates, who are currently understudied in relation to long-term prison inmates, said to Dr. William Cunningham, the study's co-principal investigator and a professor of medicine in the division of general internal medicine and health services research at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. The project would be the first to both implement and rigorously evaluate a promising and innovative intervention, he said.

"Many more people go through jails than prisons, and the Los Angeles County jail system is the largest in the U.S. and maybe the world," said Cunningham, who is also a professor of public health at the UCLA School of Public Health. "We have to focus on jails' role in the HIV epidemic because recidivism rates for HIV-positive men are extremely high it's like a 'revolving door' between the community and the jail."

The innovative project known as a peer-navigation intervention uses trained staff with backgrounds similar to the study participants to help guide the HIV-positive men through the complex health care system. Researchers will measure the men's health changes over time, including those related to prevention, and will examine how the strategy works for substance users and determine whether the intervention is cost-effective and prevents unn
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Contact: Enrique Rivero
erivero@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-2273
University of California -- Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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