Center for Health, Identity, Behavior & Prevention Studies

Current Research Studies

Syndemic Projection among MSM and trans women ages 18-25 in New Jersey

Name: Project 18 (P18)
Institution: Rutgers School of Public Health
Principal Investigator: Perry Halkitis, PhD, MPH
Description: The purpose of this study is to describe syndemic production and sexual health among a total of 100 18-25 racially/ethnically and economically diverse men who have sex with men and transgender women in Newark and other surrounding areas. Syndemics are the related behaviors of, sexual risk-taking, illicit drug use, and mental health burden affecting vulnerable populations. We will examine how these behaviors develop through baseline and additional assessments and describe the patterns of risk as well as the factors which predispose the development of these patterns.

Syndemic Production Among Emergent Adult Men

Name: Project 18 (P18)
Funder: National Institute on Drug Abuse / National Institutes of Health
Dates: 3/1/2009-2/28/2014; 3/1/2014-2/28/2019
Principal Investigator: Perry Halkitis, PhD, MPH
Description: This longitudinal study follows the development of syndemics in a cohort of urban HIV-negative young men who have sex with men in New York City as they transition from adolescence into young adulthood, and apply, test, and further develop a theory of syndemic production to understand the development of both maladaptive and adaptive behavioral outcomes.

Project P18 Viral

Funder: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease/National institutes of Health
Principal Investigators: Farzana Kapadia, PhD, MPH & Danielle C. Ompad, PhD
Principal Investigator: Perry Halkitis, PhD, MPH
Description: This ancillary study of HPV and HSV-1 and -2 infection seeks to (1) to detect cases of oral and anal HPV infection through site-specific PCR testing and clinically significant HPV subtype through serotyping and to estimate HPV persistence and clearance rates; (2) to identify uptake and completion of HPV vaccination via a combination of self-reported vaccination history in addition to New York State HPV vaccine registry verification; (3) to determine the prevalence and incidence of HSV-1 and HSV-2 by serology; (4) to estimate HIV risk among YMSM with and without HSV-1 and/or HSV-2 and to assess whether HSV infection explains racial/ethnic disparities in HIV risk; and (5) to determine the extent to which biological, behavioral, psychosocial and social/structural factors explain the likelihood of (a) oral/anal HPV infection, broadly and infection of HPV 6, 11, 16, and 18, specifically; (b) HPV vaccination uptake, (c) HSV-1 and HSV-2 infection, and (d) co-infections of HIV, HSV, and/or HPV. A number of participants will be randomly selected for qualitative interviews to obtain information on knowledge regarding and experiences with HPV and HPV vaccination.

GOLD IV: Qualitative Investigation of Resilience in HIV and Aging Individuals

Rutgers School of Public Health
Principal Investigator: Perry Halkitis, PhD, MPH
Description: People living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) experience health disparities related to the stigma, social isolation, and overall compromised health. Among the PLWHA population, the older adults experience increased complexity in health disparities because of the aging process, healthcare treatment, psychosocial and structural conditions. The aging population living with HIV show exhibit resilience as they experience intersectional problems. Resilience is a major factor related to how older PLWHA overcome health-related issues.

A focus of the project is to understand resilience as a buffer for the processes of three major stressors of the aging and HIV population. HIV and HIV therapy, aging process, psychosocial and structural states are buffered through resilience to affect the health paradigm. The theoretical model will help analyze the how physical, mental, and social health are affected in the older adults living with HIV. Interviews will be conducted to qualitatively evaluate how resilience is exhibited in older adults with HIV. The resilience and health paradigm model will guide the conversation to understand how negative health outcomes are affected by multi-factor stressors. The qualitative insight of the older adults in the interviews will bring valuable data to identify key concepts within the resilience model. Personal examination of resilience within older PLWHA will bring key elements of how elderly sexual and gender minorities with HIV can be empowered.

Survey to Map and Expand LGBT-Affirming Health Services in New Jersey

Name: Project 18 (P18)
Principal Investigator: Perry Halkitis, PhD, MS, MPH
Project Director: Caleb LoSchiavo, MPH
Description: Map and Expand is a partnership between CHIBPS and Garden State Equality, with the goal of improving our understanding of how healthcare needs are being met among the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) population of New Jersey. The information from this project will allow us to improve health outcomes, identify unmet health needs of LGBT people, and increase accessibility to affirming care through improved communication and understanding among healthcare providers and their patients. The study’s specific aims are (1) to understand the attitudes, knowledge, and experiences of healthcare providers in New Jersey in serving LGBT clients; (2) to describe the extent of LGBT-affirming practices (e.g., inclusive intake forms, trainings provided for staff) at health care organizations in New Jersey; and (3) to create a map that will allow LGBT New Jersey residents to locate LGBT-affirming providers across the state.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis and health-related beliefs among sexual minority men (YSMM)

Funder: National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH)
Principal Investigator: Jessica Jaiswal, PhD, MPH
Start Date: 9/1/2016
Description: This mixed-methods study seeks to understand how young sexual minority men (YSMM) think about and make decisions around PrEP and PrEP use. Although PrEP is an effective method of HIV prevention, many YSMM do not use it. Previous studies have suggested that slow uptake is related to structural drivers, such as healthcare access (e.g., lack of health insurance, lack of access to prescribing providers), as well as issues related to stigma and mistrust of providers and/or the healthcare system. Exploring sexual and other health-related beliefs, perceptions, and experiences will help inform programming and interventions aimed at increasing PrEP use among this population.

Adult Attachment Insecurity, Minority Stress, and Substance Use among Young Sexual Minority Men (YSMM)

Principal Investigator: Stephanie Cook, DrPH, MPH
Description: The proposed research study aims to understand the social and biological mechanisms linking adult attachment insecurity and daily substance use among YSMM ages 23-26 years old. The goal of this study is to inform the creation of attachment based substance use prevention interventions that will ultimately decrease the high rates of substance use among YSMM.