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Effective Interventions to Combat HIV Epidemic in Eastern Europe

July 19, 2012

The Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) has received a $2.3 million, four-year grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Drug Abuse to implement and evaluate evidence-based HIV prevention strategies in Ukraine.

Jill T. Owczarzak, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral health, and an investigator in the Center for AIDS Intervention Research at MCW, is the primary investigator of the grant.

Ukraine has one of the most severe HIV epidemics in Eastern Europe, with an estimated 1.6 percent of the adult population living with the virus. The prevalence among injection drug users in certain regions is 33 percent. Current HIV prevention strategies among those drug users fail to address sexual HIV risk, and evidence-based prevention strategies have not been widely implemented.

In this project, Dr. Owczarzak’s team will seek to understand how to best promote the use of evidence-based HIV prevention strategies by non-governmental agencies working with HIV-positive, and high-risk populations in Ukraine.

Ultimately, Dr. Owczarzak hopes to identify ways to better educate providers in the newest, most successful evidence-based HIV prevention strategies. This will enhance providers’ capacity to more effectively meet the needs of at-risk populations.

The Center for AIDS Intervention Research at MCW is one of five HIV prevention research centers in the United States funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. CAIR’s missions are the development of improved ways to prevent HIV infection, the development of new approaches to improve the health of persons affected by HIV/AIDS, and disseminating its research findings to service providers in the United States and throughout the world so they directly benefit from CAIR’s work.

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