A request for applications (RFA) with set aside is proposed, entitled “NIH/UNICEF/OGAC Collaboration: Increasing Access and Uptake of HIV Testing and Counselling (HTC) and Appropriate HIV-Related Services for Adolescents Living in Low- and Middle- Income Countries” using the R01 Research Project grant mechanism.
The purpose of this RFA is to stimulate investigator-initiated research in a neglected area of public health significance: the identification of and linkage and retention to care of adolescents living with HIV in resource constrained settings.
Applicants should propose research on effective approaches for improving HIV testing and counseling (HTC) service delivery and enhancing linkage to prevention, treatment, care and support services for at-risk and HIV-infected adolescents aged 10-24 years in low- and middle-income countries. Areas of interest include, but are not limited to:
- Comparative effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of interventions to improve access to HTC and care in different settings for key affected populations of adolescents
- Mechanisms to strengthen health systems which promote uptake of HTC in family planning, reproductive health and school health settings and linkages to appropriate HIV follow-up services.
- Feasibility, acceptability, ethics, effectiveness of school-based and self-testing
- Qualitative studies informing development of developmentally appropriate outreach strategies for vulnerable/ underserved/hard to reach populations for HIV testing and follow-up care, such as street children, orphans, internally displaced or refugees, those with substance abuse, mental illness, cognitive impairment or disabilities.
- Studies utilizing age-appropriate approaches optimizing outreach to adolescents in order to increase testing and follow up care.
- Intervention studies evaluating strategies to increase testing and follow up care for those populations with poor access to health care.
- Identification of effective strategies for implementation/dissemination of testing and linkage to care into community clinics/settings.
- Studies exploring the relationship between perceived and actual levels of risk for HIV and frequency of HIV testing that are unique to youth and which could inform downstream prevention interventions
- Identification of effective testing strategies which link those individuals who test HIV negative to necessary HIV prevention programs, enhancing the likelihood they remain HIV negative
- Studies exploring barriers to and/or factors enhancing testing and follow up treatment and care, and comparative effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of interventions to improve linkage to care from HTC in different settings for adolescents most at risk for HIV infection.
- Interventions to enhance HIV-infected youth outcomes at all points along the treatment and care continuum, including linkage to and retention in primary HIV medical care, initiation of and adherence to ART and achievement of durable HIV viral suppression.
- Innovative uses of new technologies to increase girls’ and other key affected adolescent populations’ access to and uptake of HTC and subsequent utilization of HIV prevention and/or treatment services.
The goal of this RFA is to improve HIV testing and counseling utilization for adolescents most at risk for HIV infection and linkages to appropriate follow-up services in low and middle-income countries, and to identify effective approaches to link and retain HIV-infected adolescents in treatment, care and support in such resource constrained settings.
Bill G. Kapogiannis, MD
Maternal and Pediatric Infectious Disease Branch
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