2017 RESEARCH 2018-12-06T17:41:03+00:00

RESEARCH

The Fenway Institute is one of the preeminent LGBT health
and HIV research organizations in the world.

Fenway researchers and educators are frequently published in:

  • The New England Journal of Medicine

  • The Journal of the American Medical Association

  • The Lancet

  • The American Journal of Public Health

  • Clinical Infectious Diseases

  • Other major journals to educate the professional and lay communities about key LGBT and HIV health issues.

Our faculty present at national and international meetings and conferences including:

  • the International AIDS Society

  • the American Public Health Association

  • the Gerontological Society of America

  • the Population Association of America

HIV/AIDS Prevention and Treatment

STRONGER TOGETHER, a randomized control trial HIV in male partnerships, finished enrollment this year with 32 couples. The study examines the efficacy of intervention such as Couples HIV Testing and Counseling (CHTC) and Partner STEPS, a curriculum developed at Fenway aimed at improving adherence in HIV positive people and serodiscordant couples. The Stronger Together team published two protocol papers in JMIR Research Protocols, and the study continues with active follow-up visits and retention.

THE NEXUS STUDY for male sex workers was completed and data analysis is underway. There is little research on male sex workers or understanding of how networks of male sex workers facilitate or impede HIV infection and transmission. The Nexus Study’s innovative approach focuses on the social, sexual and drug use networks of this high-risk population.

PROJECT AMP researchers screened 75 people and enrolled 56 participants into the study this year. The AMP Study tests an experimental antibody against HIV. Participants are given an antibody to determine if it will protect against HIV infection.

The Fenway Institute served as a research site for HIV vaccine study HVTN 117, screening 24 and enrolling 13 participants.

DISCOVER, a study comparing a new drug combination for PrEP compared to the widely used Truvada, enrolled 36 participants during a four month enrollment period.

Young People Living with HIV

The Bio-Medical Research Team began TWO NEW CLINICAL TRIALS funded by the Adolescent Medicine Trials Network (ATN) for HIV/AIDS Interventions. Institute faculty members Dr. Kenneth Mayer and Katie Biello served as protocol chairs. Life Steps for PrEP for Youth examines the effectiveness of PrEP interventions among young men who have sex with men (YMSM) and looks for ways to increase antiretroviral therapy ART adherence rates in this population.

Transmasculine Sexual Health

The PCORI TRANSMASCULINE SEXUAL HEALTH PROJECT met its enrollment goal. The project is the first study to explore less invasive means of cervical cancer screening with FTM transmasculine individuals. The goal of the study is to assess the acceptability and comparative effectiveness of self-swab HPV testing compared cervical swabs and Pap tests done in a doctor’s office, as well as to investigate STI rates in sexually active FTM transmasculine adults. A main findings paper is under review.

Transfeminine Sexual Health

LIFESKILLS, the first NIH funded RCT of a behavioral intervention for young transgender women, was fully enrolled and successfully completed, and showed efficacy for reducing condomless anal and vaginal sex in greater magnitude to the standard of care arm. The primary outcome paper is currently under review at the Lancet. In addition, an R01 grant was resubmitted to NIH (and awaiting peer review) to adapt the existing LifeSkills intervention to a mobile platform (scored a 12th percentile on the initial submission).

More than 100 transgender women in Lima, Peru, have joined the FEMINAS study that aims to determine if combining HIV prevention and treatment with gender-affirming medical care will help these women access health services and remain in care. The Fenway Institute and its project partners have developed an innovative model that combines feminizing hormone therapy with essential HIV services.

Substance Use Disorders

PROJECT IMPACT

PROJECT IMPACT, an RCT funded by NIDA to test a behavioral activation treatment to reduce sexual risk in HIV-uninfected MSM with stimulant use disorder, began in April 2017. Participant recruitment phase will begin November 2017 at Fenway Health and the University of Miami.

PROJECT REACH

Enrollment began this year for PROJECT REACH, an ongoing study on alcohol intervention for men living with HIV. Participants will receive brief counseling and advice regarding drinking conducted by a videoconference, and may receive text messages about alcohol use and health.

Data and Health Informatics

The Fenway Institute supports clinical, research and health services through state of the art health informatics and data systems. Fenway’s Informatics and Data Center continues to be a leader among community health centers in developing data capacity and HIT initiatives. Electronic Patient Reported Outcomes (ePRO) has expanded and is now integrated into our Behavioral Health Department, which enabled Fenway to be among the top 10 Health Centers reporting SBIRT data.

The Center worked closely with several Electronic Health Records (EHR) vendors this year to develop the capacity to gather SOGI data in EHRs and develop HIT systems that are LGBTQ inclusive, and participated in three of the largest clinical data registry projects in North America focused on improving care for people living with HIV/AIDS.