Who We Are
Established in 1993, Project ACHIEVE, is part of the New York Blood Center’s Laboratory of Infectious Disease Prevention in the Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute. We are a family of researchers, specialists, recruiters, and team members dedicated to promoting HIV awareness.
-We use epidemiology to stay up to date on who is at risk and why
-We design and test innovative prevention strategies to increase HIV testing and reduce risk
-We are involved with the largest clinical trials programs devoted to the development and testing of preventive HIV vaccines worldwide
Project Achieve Staff Photo - 2018
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What We Do
The goal of Project ACHIEVE is to effectively find ways to prevent HIV infection. To achieve this, we work with many populations in the New York City area, including men who have sex with men, transgender persons, and heterosexual women and men.
We conduct interventional trials to develop innovative ways to help participants reduce their risk of HIV infection. We conduct studies, spanning all phases of HIV vaccine research, as part of an international effort to find a preventative HIV vaccine.
In addition to our research, we continue to educate the community to build awareness of the need for a vaccine. We strive to build acceptance for HIV affected indivduals, and nationwide support for HIV research. We achieve this through a variety of ways, which include group presentations and workshops, conferences, and tabling at LGBTQ+ events.
Project ACHIEVE and Columbia Research Unit work together to conduct trials of preventive HIV vaccines. We also partner with multiple community-based organizations in the New York City to develop and test innovative behavioral interventions.
Our Community Education/Recruitment staff is frequently found in the streets engaging participants for new studies and distributing HIV prevention materials. We organize and participate in community events to commemorate HIV Vaccine Awareness Day, National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, National Latino AIDS Awareness Day, and New York City Pride Festivals, and a variety of other events specific to the African-American, Latinx, and LGBTQ+ community.
Project Achieve at Pride Events around NYC - 2018
Recent Findings in Our Research
Black men who have sex with men (MSM)
- In the largest group of Black MSM in the US followed over time, the rate of new HIV infections was high, particularly among young men.(1)
- Black MSM who were newly diagnosed with HIV were more likely to be unemployed, have sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and engage in unprotected receptive anal intercourse than other Black MSM.(2)
- Targeted, tailored and culturally appropriate HIV prevention strategies addressing economic disenfranchisement, engagement in care, screening for STDs, with safer sex prevention interventions, and biomedical interventions are urgently needed to lower these rates.
Neighborhoods and gay men’s health in New York City
- In the largest study of urban neighborhoods among MSM, we developed novel approaches used to collect data on the effect of neighborhoods on MSM’s health.(3)
- Using data from qualitative interviews with MSM, we found that neighborhoods can both physically and socially reinforce social class and oppression, which in turn produce disparities in sexual health.(4)
- We found that having multiple partners in overlapping time periods (concurrency) was common among MSM. Concurrency was associated with unprotected anal intercourse, substance use during sex, having an anonymous partner, and having many sex partners. This could further increase HIV risk among MSM. (5)
- The DNA/rAd5 vaccine regimen did not reduce either the rate of new HIV infection or the HIV viral-load set point among men and transgender women who have sex with men.(6)
- The development of a safe and effective HIV vaccine remains a challenge. The experience from the past 5 years highlights the importance of conducting efficacy studies that continue to move us closer toward the goal of a safe, effective, durable, and universal HIV preventive vaccine.(7)
Women at Risk
- A three-city study of women found a high percent of women had male partners at risk. The HIV incidence was 0.3%. New strategies are needed to identify US women at high risk (8)
Black heterosexual men in New York City
- Our theory-based HIV prevention intervention showed significant declines in the number of total and new female partners, unprotected sex partners, and partner concurrency in both primary and nonprimary sex partnerships between baseline and 3 months post-intervention.(9)
Other HIV Prevention Research
- In the EXPLORE Study, 9.6% of men only had receptive anal intercourse, 16.7% only had insertive anal intercourse, and 63.0% had both receptive and insertive anal intercourse. Having both receptive and insertive anal intercourse was more likely with primary and HIV-negative/unknown status partners and among younger men and substance users but less likely among Blacks and with higher number of partners. Exclusively receptive role was more likely with HIV-negative/unknown status partners and among younger men and substance users but less likely with higher number of partners.(10)
- In a behavioral intervention study of substance-using men who have sex with men, the proportion of substance-using MSM who also have sex with women is low. However, these men engage in unprotected sex with women, particularly with primary female partners.(11)
Behavioral and Social Science in HIV prevention
- Results of recent trials indicate that the division of biomedical and behavioral prevention approaches works against the goal of ending the HIV epidemic. The prevention ‘‘bar’’ needs to move to a place of interdisciplinary, comprehensive, and tailored prevention approaches that are cost efficient and scalable. (12)
- Integration of social and behavioral sciences early in idea generation and study design is imperative for the successful conduct of biomedical trials and for ensuring optimal data collection approaches necessary for the interpretation of findings, particularly in cases of unexpected results.(13)
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