Providence/Boston Center for Aids Research (CFAR)

BioBehavioral Sciences Core

The BioBehavioral Sciences Core (BBSC) supports innovative medical and behavioral research to improve the HIV care continuum and HIV prevention among vulnerable populations including justice-involved individuals, women, youth, and persons living in hyperepidemic resource-limited settings.

The BioBehavioral Sciences Core (BBSC) supports innovative medical and behavioral research to improve the HIV care continuum and HIV prevention among vulnerable populations. Both medical and behavioral sciences are critical to the success of any intervention to improve HIV treatment or prevent infection and the BBSC provides a full range of services to support investigators conducting integrated medical/behavioral research as well as research along the full biobehavioral spectrum. We facilitate access to study populations and data for people living with, or at-risk for, HIV; provide services to support participant engagement; offer expertise and services related to regulatory compliance and ethical conduct of research; support study design, implementation, and evaluation; and deliver specialized services for conducting implementation science research.  The BBSC provides these services and expertise in NIH priority areas, with special interest and expertise in justice-involved populations, women, youth, and hyperepidemic resource-limited settings such as the Southern US and internationally. Our clinical centers, academic institutions, research sites, and collaboration with state agencies, community-based organizations, and international partners provide the foundation and context for service delivery.

  • Mentoring: We provide mentorship to junior investigators in developing behavioral protocols; assessments (e.g., sex risks, mental health, and substance use); behavioral interventions (e.g., mHealth/eHealth and face-to-face); grant applications; preparation and submission of manuscripts, selection of appropriate journal, and mentorship to investigators at any stage of their career who are developing HIV as a focus in their research.
  • Investigator Support: We support investigators with a focus on SBS for improving the full continuum of HIV healthcare to advance the HIV care cascade and Prevention Services in vulnerable populations and to reduce co-morbidities. We provide administrative assistance in coordinating meetings of SBS research collaborators; facilitate development of staff and investigators to perform qualitative or quantitative research; assistance in examining the behavioral aspects of novel HIV prevention interventions such as vaccines, PrEP, addiction treatment, and mHealth/eHealth through educational programs, such as workshops, journal clubs and conferences; assistance with IRB protocol development; assistance with grant submissions; and assisting with abstract and manuscript development (e.g., literature searches, reference databases, online submission).
  • Promoting Engagement:  We foster SBS HIV prevention and intervention efforts focused on vulnerable populations. The efforts promote collaboration among CFAR investigators and the community by hosting annual meetings; assisting with community education projects and community HIV prevention activities impacting MSM, those with unhealthy substance use, and patients with STDs; supporting translational research and projects that promote structural changes at the community and state-wide level through pilot projects; and participation in the Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Network’s annual meeting and mentoring day, and the New England HIV Implementation Science Network with Yale’s Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS.
  • PrEP Related Services and Information

Assoumou SA, Wang J, Nolen S, Eftekhari Yazdi G, Mayer KH, Puro J, Salomon JA, Linas BP. HCV Testing and Treatment in a National Sample of US Federally Qualified Health Centers during the Opioid Epidemic. J Gen Intern Med. 2020 May;35(5):1477-1483.

Biello K, Salhaney P, Valente PK, Childs E, Olson J, Earlywine JJ, Marshall BD, R Bazzi A. Ecological momentary assessment of daily drug use and harm reduction service utilization among people who inject drugs in non-urban areas: A concurrent mixed-method feasibility study. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2020 Sep 1;214:108167.

Byrd KM, Beckwith CG, Garland JM, Johnson JE, Aung S, Cu-Uvin S, Farmakiotis D, Flanigan T, Gillani FS, Macias-Gil R, Mileno M, Ramratnam B, Rybak NR, Sanchez M, Tashima K, Mylonakis E, Kantor R. SARS CoV-2 and HIV coinfection: clinical experience from Rhode Island, United States. J Int AIDS Soc. 2020 Jul;23(7):e25573.

Carroll JJ, Rich JD, Green TC. The protective effect of trusted dealers against opioid overdose in the U.S. Int J Drug Policy. 2020 Apr;78:102695.

Childs E, Biello KB, Valente PK, Salhaney P, Biancarelli DL, Olson J, Earlywine JJ, Marshall BDL, Bazzi AR. Implementing harm reduction in non-urban communities affected by opioids and polysubstance use: A qualitative study exploring challenges and mitigating strategies. Int J Drug Policy. 2020 Dec 16;90:103080.

Cioe PA, Mercurio AN, Lechner W, Costantino CC, Tidey JW, Eissenberg T, Kahler CW. A pilot study to examine the acceptability and health effects of electronic cigarettes in HIV-positive smokers. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2020 Jan 1;206:107678.

Earlywine JJ, Bazzi AR, Biello KB, Klevens RM. High Prevalence of Indications for Pre-exposure Prophylaxis Among People Who Inject Drugs in Boston, Massachusetts. Am J Prev Med. 2021 Mar;60(3):369-378.

Earlywine JJ, Hadland SE, Raifman J. State-level prescription drug monitoring program mandates and adolescent injection drug use in the United States, 1995-2017: A difference-in-differences analysis. PLoS Med. 2020 Sep 25;17(9):e1003272.

Edeza A, Bazzi A, Salhaney P, Biancarelli D, Childs E, Mimiaga MJ, Drainoni ML, Biello K. HIV Pre-exposure Prophylaxis for People Who Inject Drugs: The Context of Co-occurring Injection- and Sexual-Related HIV Risk in the U.S. Northeast. Subst Use Misuse. 2020;55(4):525-533.

Erqou S, Jiang L, Choudhary G, Lally M, Bloomfield GS, Zullo A, Shireman T, Freiberg M, Justice A, Rudolph J, Lin N, Wu Wen-Chih. Heart Failure Outcomes and Associated Factors among Veterans with Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection. JACC: Heart Failure. 2020;8(6):501-511.

Erqou S, Rodriguez-Barradas MC. Secondary Prevention of myocardial infarction in people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. J Am Heart Assoc. 2020; 9(17):e018140.

Hughto JMW, Pletta D, Gordon L, Cahill S, Mimiaga MJ, Reisner SL. Negative Transgender-Related Media Messages Are Associated with Adverse Mental Health Outcomes in a Multistate Study of Transgender Adults. LGBT Health. 2021 Jan;8(1):32-41.

Lartey M, Kenu E, Lassey A, Ntumy M, Ganu V, Sam M, Boamah I, Gilani FS, Yang H, Burch GM, Norman J, Peloquin CA, Kwara A. Pharmacokinetics of Efavirenz 600 mg Once Daily During Pregnancy and Post Partum in Ghanaian Women Living With HIV. Clin Ther. 2020 Sep;42(9):1818-1825.

Leech AA, Christiansen CL, Linas BP, Jacobsen DM, Morin I, Drainoni ML. Healthcare practitioner experiences and willingness to prescribe pre-exposure prophylaxis in the US. PLoS One. 2020 Sep 3;15(9):e0238375.

Motavalli D, Taylor JL, Childs E, Valente PK, Salhaney P, Olson J, Biancarelli DL, Edeza A, Earlywine JJ, Marshall BDL, Drainoni ML, Mimiaga MJ, Biello KB, Bazzi AR. "Health Is on the Back Burner:" Multilevel Barriers and Facilitators to Primary Care Among People Who Inject Drugs. J Gen Intern Med. 2021 Jan;36(1):129-137.

Nowotny KM, Zielinski MJ, Stringer KL, Pugh T, Wu E, Metsch LR, El-Bassel N, Nunn AS, Beckwith CG. Training the Next Generation of Researchers Dedicated to Improving Health Outcomes for Justice-Involved Populations. Am J Public Health. 2020 Jan;110(S1):S18-S20. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2019.305411.

Olson A, Coote C, Snyder-Cappione JE, Lin N, Sagar M. HIV-1 Transcription but Not Intact Provirus Levels are Associated With Systemic Inflammation. J of Infectious Diseases. 2020 Oct 19:jiaa657

Orang'o EO, Emont JP, Ermel AC, Liu T, Omodi V, Tong Y, Itsura PM, Tonui PK, Maina T, Ong'echa JM, Muthoka K, Kiptoo S, Moormann A, Hogan J, Loehrer PJ, Brown D, Cu-Uvin S. Detection of types of HPV among HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected Kenyan women undergoing cryotherapy or loop electrosurgical excision procedure.Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2020 Nov;151(2):279-286.

Osetinsky B, Mwangi A, Pastakia S, Wilson-Barthes M, Kimetto J, Rono K, Laktabai J, Galárraga O. Layering and scaling up chronic non-communicable disease care on existing HIV care systems and acute care settings in Kenya: a cost and budget impact analysis. J Int AIDS Soc. 2020 Jun;23 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):e25496.

Puing AG, Li X, Rich J, Nijhawan AE. Emergency department utilization by people living with HIV released from jail in the US South. Health Justice. 2020 Jun 27;8(1):16.

Rana AI, Castillo-Mancilla JR, Tashima KT, Landovitz RL. Advances in Long-Acting Agents for the Treatment of HIV Infection. Drugs. 2020 Apr;80(6):535-545.

Restar A, Jin H, Breslow A, Reisner SL, Mimiaga M, Cahill S, Hughto JMW. Legal gender marker and name change is associated with lower negative emotional response to gender-based mistreatment and improve mental health outcomes among trans populations. SSM Popul Health. 2020 May 11;11:100595.

Restar A, Ogunbajo A, Adia A, Nazareno J, Hernandez L, Sandfort T, Lurie M, Cu-Uvin S, Operario D. Using structural equation modelling to characterise multilevel socioecological predictors and mediators of condom use among transgender women and cisgender men who have sex with men in the Philippines. BMJ Glob Health. 2020 Jul;5(7):e002463.

Restar AJ, Adia A, Cu-Uvin S, Operario D. Characterizing PrEP Awareness and Interest Among Filipina Transgender Women. AIDS Educ Prev. 2020 Jun;32(3):212-228.

Restar AJ, Adia A, Nazareno J, Hernandez L, Sandfort T, Lurie M, Cu-Uvin S, Operario D. Barriers and facilitators to uptake of condoms among Filipinx transgender women and cisgender men who have sex with men: A situated socio-ecological perspective. Glob Public Health. 2020 Apr;15(4):520-531.

Restar AJ, Breslow AS, Jin H, Quilantang MI, Sison O, Bermudez AN, Palatino M, Adia A, Cu-Uvin S, Operario D, Nazareno J. Transgender-specific developmental milestones and associated experiences of violence, discrimination, and stigma among Filipinx transgender women who are sexually active with men. PLoS One. 2021 Mar 9;16(3):e0248248.

Restar AJ, Chan RCH, Adia A, Quilantang MI, Nazareno J, Hernandez L, Cu-Uvin S, Operario D. Prioritizing HIV Services for Transgender Women and Men Who Have Sex With Men in Manila, Philippines: An Opportunity for HIV Provider Interventions. J Assoc Nurses AIDS Care. 2020 Jul-Aug;31(4):405-416.

Restar AJ, Jin H, Ogunbajo A, Adia A, Surace A, Hernandez L, Cu-Uvin S, Operario D. Differences in HIV risk and healthcare engagement factors in Filipinx transgender women and cisgender men who have sex with men who reported being HIV negative, HIV positive or HIV unknown. J Int AIDS Soc. 2020 Aug;23(8):e25582.

Sereda Y, Kiriazova T, Makarenko O, Carroll JJ, Rybak N, Chybisov A, Bendiks S, Idrisov B, Dutta A, Gillani FS, Samet JH, Flanigan T, Lunze K. Stigma and quality of co-located care for HIV-positive people in addiction treatment in Ukraine: a cross-sectional study. J Int AIDS Soc. 2020 May;23(5):e25492.

Shangani S, Bhaskar N, Richmond N, Operario D, van den Berg JJ. A systematic review of early adoption of implementation science for HIV prevention or treatment in the United States. AIDS. 2021 Feb 2;35(2):177-191.

Shangani S, Genberg B, Harrison A, Pellowski J, Wachira J, Naanyu V, Operario D. Cultural adaptation and validation of a measure of prejudice against men who have sex with men among healthcare providers in western Kenya. Glob Public Health. 2020 Dec 11:1-15.

Sinha P, Mostaghim A, Bielick CG, McLaughlin A, Hamer DH, Wetzler LM, Bhadelia N, Fagan MA, Linas BP, Assoumou SA, Ieong MH, Lin NH, Cooper ER, Brade KD, White LF, Barlam TF, Sagar M; Boston Medical Center Covid-19 Treatment Panel. Early administration of interleukin-6 inhibitors for patients with severe COVID-19 disease is associated with decreased intubation, reduced mortality, and increased discharge. Int J Infect Dis. 2020 Oct;99:28-33. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2020.07.023.

Stone AC, Carroll JJ, Rich JD, Green TC. One year of methadone maintenance treatment in a fentanyl endemic area: Safety, repeated exposure, retention, and remission. J Subst Abuse Treat. 2020 Aug;115:108031.

Sun S, Goldberg SB, Lin D, Qiao S, Operario D. Psychiatric symptoms, risk, and protective factors among university students in quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic in China. Global Health. 2021 Jan 25;17(1):15.

Sun S, Hou J, Chen Y, Lu Y, Brown L, Operario D. Challenges to HIV Care and Psychological Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic Among People Living with HIV in China. AIDS Behav. 2020 Oct;24(10):2764-2765.

Sun S, Whiteley L, Brown LK. HIV Testing Among Chinese Men Who Have Sex with Men: The Roles of HIV Knowledge, Online Social Life, and Sexual Identity Concerns. AIDS Behav. 2020 Feb;24(2):437-449.

Tarantino N, Lowery A, Brown LK. Adherence to HIV Care and Associated Health Functioning among Youth Living with HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa. AIDS Rev. 2020 Jul 8;22(2):93-102.

Tarantino N, Whiteley L, Craker L, Brown LK. Predictors of viral suppression among youth living with HIV in the southern United States. AIDS Care. 2020 Jul;32(7):916-920.

alente PK, Bazzi AR, Childs E, Salhaney P, Earlywine J, Olson J, Biancarelli DL, Marshall BDL, Biello KB. Patterns, contexts, and motivations for polysubstance use among people who inject drugs in non-urban settings in the U.S. Northeast. Int J Drug Policy. 2020 Nov;85:102934.

van den Berg JJ, Gamarel KE, Westfall AO, Fortenberry JD, Hosek SG, Wilson CM, Lally MA. Transmission Risk Among Youth Living With HIV in the U.S. J Adolesc Health. 2020 Jul;67(1):61-68.

van der Elst EM, Mudza R, Onguso JM, Kiirika L, Kombo B, Jahangir N, Graham SM, Operario D, Sanders EJ. A more responsive, multi-pronged strategy is needed to strengthen HIV healthcare for men who have sex with men in a decentralized health system: qualitative insights of a case study in the Kenyan coast. J Int AIDS Soc. 2020 Oct;23 Suppl 6(Suppl 6):e25597.

Velasco MC, Chrysanthopoulou SA, Galárraga O. Cash Transfers and Contraceptive Use: A Regression Discontinuity Analysis. Stud Fam Plann. 2020 Dec;51(4):309-321.  

Were LPO, Hogan JW, Galárraga O, Wamai R. Predictors of Health Insurance Enrollment among HIV Positive Pregnant Women in Kenya: Potential for Adverse Selection and Implications for HIV Treatment and Prevention. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Apr 22;17(8):2892.

Whiteley L, Healy MG, Lowery A, Haubrick KK, Brown LK. An evaluation and review of English language pre exposure prophylaxis websites and YouTube videos. Int J STD AIDS. 2020 Apr;31(5):460-466.

Wray TB, Monti PM, Kahler CW, Guigayoma JP. Using ecological momentary assessment (EMA) to explore mechanisms of alcohol-involved HIV risk behavior among men who have sex with men (MSM). Addiction. 2020 Dec;115(12):2293-2302.