2018 RESEARCH 2019-02-06T15:09:29+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 Research for Prevention

Biomedical Research

During fiscal year 2018, The Fenway Institute’s Biomedical Research team continued to conduct clinical trials looking at new approaches to preventing HIV infection. Our research recruitment team was recognized repeatedly for their ability to quickly enroll study participants and also worked to represent Fenway at Boston LGBT Pride, World AIDS Day, and at presentations at local colleges and universities throughout the year.

World AIDS Day photo

The AMP Study

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Participants Enrolled

We completed enrollment in December 2017 for The AMP Study, which tests the efficacy of an experimental antibody in protecting against HIV infection, successfully enrolled 75 participants over the course of 18 months. Study participation for our participants should wrap up in late 2019.

HPTN 087

First Phase of
Research

The Fenway Institute saw the start of another monoclonal antibody study, HPTN 087. While the same concept as the AMP Study, HPTN 087 is looking at a different monoclonal antibody with a shorter half-life as well as different delivery methods of the product. Participants in 087 can receive an infusion of antibodies, just like the AMP Study, or they can receive intermuscular injections. Unlike AMP, HPTN 087 is in its first phase of research and is not an efficacy trial, meaning participants in this study are at “low-risk” for an HIV infection.

Injectable PrEP

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Participants Enrolled

The Injectable PrEP study was in full swing the majority of fiscal year 2018. We enrolled over 60 participants during this time, rapidly approaching our goal of 75 participants. The Fenway Institute has been recognized as the fastest enrolling site for this study, enrolling an average of one participant a week. We have hit our initial enrollment targets, but will continue to enroll for the remainder of calendar year 2018.

HIV Vaccine Studies

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Participants Enrolled

The Fenway Institute participated in numerous HIV Vaccine studies over the course of 2018, including HVTN 118, 108, 120, & 124. During the fiscal year, we enrolled 35 participants into our HIV Vaccine Studies. We were the fastest enrolling site for HVTN 108, and continue to recruit and enroll for one active vaccine study, slated to complete enrollment at the end of the year.

Behavioral Health Research

Three new studies began enrolling participants during fiscal year 2018:

  • DigiPrEP, funded by Gilead, which is looking at how young men who have sex with men (MSM) would use digital pill technology to improve adherence to PrEP for HIV prevention.
  • PrEPSteps, a series of focus groups for MSM to provide feedback on PrEPsteps, an investigational smartphone-based intervention to improve adherence to PrEP. This study is funded by the National Institutes of Health.
  • Project Matter is a refined text-enhanced psycho-behavioral randomized control trial to reduce under-addressed and modifiable barriers to engagement in HIV care, including internalized stigma and related emotions, among HIV-positive men who have sex with men who use substances and are sub-optimally engaged in HIV care. The project is funded by NIDA and aims to elucidate behavioral and social mechanisms associated with substance use, and optimize treatment success among this population.

The Behavioral Health Research team enrolled over 500 participants in eight active studies:

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Participants Enrolled
  • Thrive+

  • NHBS IDU5

  • The Music Study

  • Project Matter

  • Project Insight

  • DigiPrEP

  • PrEPSteps

Epidemiological Research

HIV/AIDS Prevention and Treatment

HIV/AIDS Prevention and Treatment

STRONGER TOGETHER, a randomized control trial HIV in male partnerships, finished enrollment in 2017 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. All follow-up will be completed by the end of December 2018.

Transgender Health

In April 2018, we were awarded a PCORI grant to form a transgender patient longitudinal cohort between Fenway Health and Callen-Lorde in New York. The goal of the study is to assess how gender affirming care impacts HIV health outcomes, in addition to other aspects of health. Enrollment of the cohort will begin in early 2019.

Transmasculine Sexual Health

In April 2018, we were awarded a PCORI grant to form a transgender patient longitudinal cohort between Fenway Health and Callen-Lorde in New York. The goal of the study is to assess how gender affirming care impacts HIV health outcomes, in addition to other aspects of health. Enrollment of the cohort will begin in early 2019.

Transfeminine Sexual Health

Project LifeSkills, the first randomized control trial 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 was published in JAMA Pediatrics in October 2018.

The LITE Study, the largest longitudinal cohort of transgender women to date, began enrollment in March 2018. To date, 116 transgender women have enrolled at Fenway; 562 have enrolled across all 6 cities (Boston, New York, Baltimore, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Miami).

Substance Use Disorders

PROJECT IMPACT is a randomized control trial to test a behavioral activation treatment to reduce sexual risk in HIV-uninfected MSM with stimulant use disorder. Enrollment began in March 2018. To date, 65 individuals have been enrolled across both sites (Fenway Health and University of Miami).

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.