ARI Strategic Support Awards

The annual ARI Strategic Support Awards are given to UCSF researchers conducting innovative work in HIV/AIDS. Winners are selected through a competitive review process led by the ARI Director and ARI Leadership Committee, and all submissions are sponsored by an ARI Executive Board member.

Catherine Koss, MD

PrEP Uptake Among At-Risk HIV-Uninfected Women

Recent studies from San Francisco suggest rapidly increasing levels of interest and uptake of PrEP among men who have sex with men, but data are limited on knowledge of PrEP and attitudes about PrEP use among cisgender women. In order to reach at-risk women who may benefit from PrEP, foundational research is needed to identify levels of knowledge and interest in PrEP and factors that may impede PrEP uptake among women who are interested in using it. The study aims to assess knowledge of and interest in PrEP, motivations for and barriers to PrEP uptake among at-risk HIV-uninfected women, and to identify women-centered PrEP delivery strategies that may facilitate adherence.

Teri Leigler, PhD

Develop Tat/rev Inducible Limiting Dilution Assay (TILDA)

The funding will supplement the validation and implementation of a novel diagnostic laboratory test in the Virology and Immunology Core laboratories that support HIV cure research initiatives. TILDA is designed to provide a biologically relevant assessment of HIV-1 latent reservoir recrudescence in vivo—a key measurement in evaluating the efficacy of ongoing innovative experimental therapeutic strategies designed to ablate or reduce the size of the HIV-1 reservoir. The ultimate goal of this research is to achieve virologic remission in the absence of antiretroviral therapy (ART), or a functional cure. The Virology and Immunology Core labs plan to leverage their shared technology, expertise and established infrastructure to offer this assay to UCSF researchers.

Sheri A. Lippman, PhD, MPH (PI)
Wayne T. Steward, PhD, MPH (Co-I)

Filling Funding Shortfall of I-Care Study

The I-Care study is a cluster randomized trial to improve linkage to and retention in HIV care at primary and community health care clinics in a high prevalence district in rural South Africa. The trial compares three conditions: use of text messaging or short message service for medication and appointment reminders and to encourage healthy living, peer navigation services for medication and personal support, and standard of care. Preliminary analyses have been very encouraging, and indicate that both intervention approaches significantly shortened the time needed to link to care as compared to standard of care. However, the I-Care study faced an unexpected funding close-out by the extramural funding agency, leaving the study team unable to collect final participant data, analyze the data, and disseminate the intervention data. The ARI Strategic Support funding will allow the I-Care team to extract final clinical data, needed to establish behavioral and clinical program impacts.