PACKAGING PRE-EXPOSURE PROPHYLAXIS TO PREVENT HIV TRANSMISSION AMONG WOMEN WHO INJECT DRUGS (Project S.H.E.)
What is Project S.H.E?
S.H.E. (Sexual Health Equity) is a community-engaged research project funded by the National Institutes on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The goal of this study is to identify strategies that successfully promote uptake of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) among women who inject drugs (WWID) who are at risk for HIV.
What problem does Project S.H.E address?
Persons who inject drugs (PWID) comprise 3% of the adult population in the United States but 6% of persons acquiring HIV and 18% of persons living with HIV. If HIV goes unchecked, 1 in 23 WWID living in the United States will acquire HIV within their lifetimes. PrEP was approved for use as an HIV prevention strategy in 2012 and recommended as an HIV prevention strategy for PWID in 2013. However, research to bring this prevention strategy to scale is limited. Because PrEP may have particular benefits for women, our goal is to understand what factors impact women's decisions and ability to get on PrEP and stay on PrEP if they believe this is a good HIV prevention tool for them.
What will Project S.H.E do?
Project S.H.E. will offer participants PrEP care at Prevention Point Philadelphia and facilitate their access to PrEP by helping them enroll in insurance and/or medication assistance programs. During the course of six months, we will use both surveys and interviews to understand what issues impact women’s decisions and ability to get and stay on PrEP. The research will be used to develop long-term programs and interventions that facilitate access to PrEP for WWID.
KENSINGTON INVENTORY OF NEIGHBORHOOD DYNAMICS (KIND) PROJECT
What is the KIND Project?
The KIND (Kensington Inventory of Neighborhood Dynamics) Project is a series of community focused research projects being conducted in partnership with Dr. Stephen Lankenau, funded by the Dornsife School of Public Health. The goal of these studies is to better understand the health of Kensington residents, a neighborhood in Northeastern Philadelphia greatly impacted by the opioid crisis.
What problem does the KIND Project address?
The United States is in the midst of an unprecedented drug overdose epidemic. Drug overdoses killed over 72,000 Americans in 2017, with nearly two-thirds involving a prescription or illicit opioid. In Philadelphia, 1,216 persons died of a drug overdose in 2017, which is a 33% increase compared to 2016. Philadelphia had the 2nd highest drug overdose rate among the nation’s 44 largest counties (surpassed only by Allegheny county which includes Pittsburgh). The Kensington neighborhood and adjacent areas have the highest concentration of overdose deaths in Philadelphia. One possible solution to the crisis is an Overdose Prevention Site (OPS), however, little research has been done to study the health of Kensington residents. Such work is crucial to understanding how OPS might improve health if they are opened in this neighborhood.
What will the KIND Project do?
The KIND Project will work to collect, analyze, and disseminate data with assistance from key community members and health organizations such as Prevention Point Philadelphia. This project involves three components. The first aims to determine the public’s opinion regarding drug use in Kensington and the potential opening of an OPS through surveying residents and local business owners and staff. The second aims to characterize community assets and social disorder related to public drug use in Kensington using an environmental checklist. The third will use existing data such as the Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey, US Census Data and OpenDataPhilly to understand health and health disparities in Kensington.
FEASIBILITY OF BIOSENSORS TO CHARACTERIZE THE CONTEXT OF OPIOID USE AND RELATED OUTCOMES (SensOD)
What is SensOD?
Funded by the Drexel Urban Health Collaborative, the Stein Family Fellowship, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, SensOD's goal is to see if it’s acceptable and feasible to use wearable biosensors to understand patterns of opioid use over time and to detect dangerous drug events. By dangerous, we mean episodes of use that slow breathing and heart rate to levels associated with fatal overdose.
What problem does SensOD address?
The escalating opioid epidemic is one of the most significant public health crises confronting the United States. Overdose deaths (ODD) are now the leading cause of death for persons under 50 years old. In Philadelphia, there were over 1,200 ODD last year which is proportionally more than any other U.S. city.
Wearable biosensors may hold promise for intervening on opioid overdoses in real-time, especially for persons who use alone. It is our hope that these devices can be programmed to 1) identify physiological signs of opioid overdose-induced respiratory depression; 2) buzz and ring to alert a person who has overdosed, which may provide enough stimulation to allow for self-administration of naloxone; 3) alarm to alert bystanders of an emergency; and/or 4) automatically trigger a call to emergency medical services to dispatch an overdose response team. First, research is required to understand the barriers to device use to enable effective design, adoption, and implementation.
What will SensOD do?
SensOD will use wearable biosensors to characterize the physiologic response patterns to drug use among 16 high-volume opioid users over one week. Participants will be recruited from UnityPhilly, a naloxone delivery intervention, using a mobile app to catalyze neighborhood-based response services in Kensington, Philadelphia. We will use the biosensor data to elicit information from participants about their drug use and stress experiences. Machine learning will subsequently be applied to collected data to understand if there are possible warning signs that can be used to predict risky drug use events in order to trigger calls for help in real-time. To learn more about UnityPhilly, click here.
A DYADIC ANALYSIS OF INTENTION TO DIFFUSE PrEP INFORMATION AMONG WOMEN WHO INJECT DRUGS IN PHILADELPHIA
The goal of this study is to determine how social network characteristics, such as relationship type and closeness, impact women who inject drugs' (WWID) intention to relay PrEP information to people in their social networks.
While PrEP could be a useful HIV prevention tool for many WWID, awareness of PrEP among WWID is low. Research shows that social networks can be utilized to deliver peer-to-peer interventions that increase knowledge and practice of HIV prevention behaviors. Because PrEP awareness is low, this study will explore who WWID would be willing and able to share PrEP information with, the formats in which they would deliver PrEP information, and skills needed to participate in a future peer-to-peer PrEP intervention.
What the study will do:
This study will use both qualitative and quantitative social network analysis to understand the meaning of social relationships among WWID, and how characteristics of these relationships impact communications preferences with peers about PrEP.
Louisiana Partnerships for Success Grant (LaPFS) Evaluation
What is the Louisiana Partnerships for Success Grant?
LaPFS is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA). Its goal is to prevent the onset and reduce the progression of underage drinking (persons aged 12 to 20) and prescription drug abuse (persons aged 12 to 25). Based on a national survey, by the time they are seniors, over 20% of high school students will have abused a prescription drug. Nationally alcohol contributes to the death of over 4,000 people under the age of 21 every year. These statistics are a few of the outcomes the LaPFS grant aims to ameliorate.
What problem does the Louisiana Partnerships for Success Grant Address?
LaPFS addresses the concerning rates of underage alcohol and prescription drug misuse and related harms in the state of Louisiana. The grant selected ten parishes, called high needs communities (HNCs), that were deemed to both have a high burden and existing infrastructure to implement activities. These HNCs were chosen to receive funds to implement LaPFS related activities. Grant funds are used to strengthen the prevention infrastructure at state and local levels.
What did the Louisiana Partnerships for Success Grant Do?
Beginning in 2015, HEAL members began to direct the evaluation of LaPFS. The evaluation uses secondary sources such as surveys, highway safety, and emergency room admittance data to determine whether HNCs reported reductions in underage drinking and prescription drug misuse compared to communities who did not receive LaPFS funds. This project is ongoing with the final evaluation concluding in September 2019.