UTEP to develop new initiative to scale back HIV in individuals who use medication within the El Paso-Ciudad Juárez border

The College of Texas at El Paso will develop a sustainable public well being intervention to suppress human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in individuals who use medication within the El Paso-Ciudad Juárez border area to assist gradual the unfold of HIV. The initiative can be funded by a $3 million grant from the Nationwide Institutes of Well being (NIH) Nationwide Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Julia Lechuga, Ph.D., UTEP affiliate professor of public well being sciences, obtained funding to implement a biobehavioral intervention aimed toward suppressing the viral load of HIV in individuals who inject medication in order that the likelihood of HIV ahead transmission is diminished. The lately funded examine is the subsequent section of Venture Encuentro, a community-based HIV threat discount program in El Paso and Juárez, Mexico, that Lechuga established with assist from one other NIH grant she obtained in 2016. Venture Encuentro is a collaboration between UTEP and Programa Compañeros, a Juárez-based social service group.

Regardless of advances in HIV therapy, persons are nonetheless in danger for getting and transmitting the virus, notably individuals who inject medication. Our goal is to scale back the unfold of HIV in our binational neighborhood by offering individuals who use medication entry to much-needed sources to assist them enhance their well being and their high quality of life.”

Julia Lechuga, Ph.D., UTEP affiliate professor of public well being sciences

In response to the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention, grownup and adolescents who inject medication accounted for 10% of the 37,968 new HIV diagnoses in america, US territories and the Republic of Palau in 2018.

Researchers, which embrace college from the College of California San Francisco, will use a brand new multiphase optimization technique to develop an intervention to enhance adherence to antiretroviral remedy amongst 384 HIV-positive individuals who use medication in Juárez.

If taken precisely as prescribed, antiretroviral remedy can decrease the quantity of virus, or viral load, within the blood to undetectable ranges.

Over the subsequent 5 years, Lechuga will take a look at 4 interventions to find out which combos are handiest at serving to individuals who inject medication and who’re HIV constructive to suppress their viral load. Methods embrace utilizing affected person navigators to assist members acquire HIV therapy companies, offering psychological remedy to deal with melancholy, enhancing entry to methadone therapy, and providing instructional classes and abilities for medicine adherence.

Maria Elena Ramos, government director of Programa Compañeros, stated this new challenge will permit the group to implement new interventions to help people who inject medication and who’re residing with HIV adhere to medicine by offering new public well being methods equivalent to psychological therapies.

“This new examine will permit us to adapt evidence-based practices and incorporate them into different efficient therapy fashions,” Ramos stated. “We may even find out about different instruments to detect and deal with essentially the most prevalent psychological well being situations equivalent to melancholy within the inhabitants that we serve.”

The primary NIH grant that Lechuga obtained to fund Venture Encuentro ended earlier this yr. Over the previous 5 years, Venture Encuentro has straight impacted 3,500 folks on either side of the U.S.-Mexico border. This system offered HIV testing to individuals who inject heroin or crack and provided peer community interventions and academic classes to scale back HIV threat amongst individuals who use medication.


College of Texas at El Paso

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