Researchers at the UCSF Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS) are looking for men and women living with HIV to participate in a new study aimed at improving health and well-being in the HIV community.
Along with researchers at UCLA, Columbia University in New York, and the Medical College of Wisconsin, the UCSF research team hopes to determine the specific challenges that HIV-positive men and women face.
"Due to major changes in available treatments, the situation for many people living with HIV is phenomenally different than a few years ago," said Margaret Chesney, PhD, CAPS co-director and principal investigator of the study, named the Unity Project.
"New challenges have emerged in the past couple years for people living with HIV -- some people choose not to take medications, some are faced with side effects, and some have learned that the drugs do not work for them. We want to learn about their concerns as they are experiencing them," she added.
CAPS researchers plan to enroll 300 HIV-positive men and women who will be divided equally into two research arms.
Participants in the first group will take part in a series of 15 one-on-one meetings over the course of a year with Unity Project staff, who will help participants focus on the difficult issues in their lives -- such as managing their health care , disclosing HIV status, and dealing with their sexuality -- and on ways to deal with these issues in a positive way. Those in the second group also will take part in a series of one-on-one meetings, but the focus will be modified based on what researchers learn to be most effective from the first group.
"The study will allow us to examine the effects of a one-on-one intervention and how people living with HIV in San Francisco are dealing with a range of situations in their lives. What we learn from this study will provide guidelines for structuring support to the HIV community in the future," said Chesney.