A new $9.1 million federal grant to the Providence/Boston Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) will allow the center to place a new emphasis on the relationship between HIV and substance use disorder.
A collaboration between Brown and Boston universities and their respective affiliated health systems, CFAR is adding substance use disorder to its areas of focus at a time when the opioid crisis has exacerbated concerns over infectious disease transmission. Other CFAR focus areas have included women, at-risk youths, and men who have sex with men.
Another noteworthy aspect of this award is that it reflects a broadening perspective on the funding aims of the National Institutes of Health's (NIH's) National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Up to this point, most federally supported research looking at HIV/AIDS and substance use disorders had come out of NIH's two drug- and alcohol-focused institutes (the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism).
“There is such strength between Brown and BU in the HIV and substance use realm, so it made sense to play to our strengths,” Jeffrey H. Samet, MD, MPH, a professor at BU's schools of medicine and public health and chief of the section of general internal medicine at Boston Medical Center, tells Addiction Professional.
The Providence/Boston CFAR has received NIH funding since the center's founding in 1998. A news release from the CFAR's headquarters at The Miriam Hospital in Providence states, “The new funding is an acknowledgement that HIV/AIDS continues to pose a serious threat around the world and that the center produces valuable multidisciplinary research to help battle the disease.”
The center pursues translational research to reduce HIV infection worldwide by supporting emerging HIV investigators domestically and abroad. CFAR leaders explain that the latest grant will be used to identify and support investigators to become HIV/AIDS researchers.
Samet adds that he is excited about the enhanced collaboration between two research institutions located about an hour apart. Brown is affiliated with the Lifespan health system, while BU is connected with Boston Medical Center.
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