Award will aid study of HIV

by Michelle Kibiger

The University’s Program in Human Sexuality last week was awarded $1 million from the National Centers for Disease Control to study the effectiveness of two programs to prevent the spread of HIV.
Over the next three years University researchers will study two prevention programs that target specific populations at risk for contracting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
One test population is men who have sex with or are attracted to other men.
The “Man-to-Man: Sexual Health Seminars” will study how information presented in the seminar affects the sexual behavior of 500 male participants.
The other program, “Women’s Initiative for Sexual Health,” will focus on women of color. This demographic group makes up 41 percent of the United State’s HIV-positive population. The program is intended to determine which HIV risk factors most affect women.
“The awards are very good news for Minnesota,” said Eli Coleman, director of the University’s Program in Human Sexuality. “It means we can study two of our populations most at risk for HIV, and feed the results directly back to these communities.”
The University’s Program in Human Sexuality is also participating in a nationwide study that targets men age 25 and younger.
“HIV is on the increase in this population again and the dangers are high,” said Gary Remafedi, a University researcher conducting the program.
About 84 percent of reported AIDS cases in the United States are people in the 25-to-49 age group. The majority of AIDS cases, 85 percent, are men.
Remafedi also recently received a grant from the Centers for Disease Control to fund his work.
Over the next five years Remafedi’s staff will work with four other sites around the country to determine which intervention programs are most effective.
The other sites are located in San Francisco, New York City, Chicago and a combined program for the Detroit and Milwaukee areas.