UK College of Public Health Professor Receives NIH grant

Lexington, Ky. (Aug. 11, 2011) — Richard Crosby, Development Dimensions International Endowed Professor and chair of the Department of Health Behavior at the University of Kentucky College of Public Health, has been award a $2.86 million grant over five years by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for a study of the AIDS epidemic in the African-American male population. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has termed AIDS a health crisis for African-Americans and has called for a heightened national response. The crisis is especially dramatic in the South and it is now apparent that young African-American men who have sex with men (MSM) are exceedingly likely to be infected.

“Unfortunately, the ever-expanding HIV epidemic experienced by this population has not been matched by equal attention to the development of efficacious prevention programs,” said Crosby. "Clearly, highly effective prevention efforts are urgently needed; ideally these programs should be brief and easy-to-deliver throughout the South."

Crosby has been awarded funds by the National Institutes of Mental Health to develop and test a brief, clinic-based safer sex program for young African-American men. Initial development and testing will occur in one of the hardest hit areas of the Southern epidemic: Jackson, Miss. By partnering with Dr. Leandro Mena, director of the Jackson Sexually Transmitted Disease Clinic, and by collaborating with several national partners from Atlanta, and Washington D.C., Crosby anticipates the ultimate product from this work will have the potential to avert a substantial number of new HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infections among this important population of young men.

“This is a major public health epidemic within the southern African-American community; however, much more needs to be done to prevent the spread of the HIV virus in America,” said Crosby.

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