Check out the current issue of URBAN ARCH News, the quarterly newsletter bringing you news on the latest URBAN ARCH and related research.


In this edition of the URBAN ARCH Newsletter, we highlight URBAN ARCH activities and presentations at the CROI conference last month.

Updates from 2nd Generation URBAN ARCH HIV/Alcohol P01s

International URBAN ARCH Center Updates

Click on the buttons below to see what the International URBAN ARCH Center Cores and Projects have been working on.

Spotlight on… Amanda Miller

In this issue, we interview early stage investigator Amanda Miller about her involvement with URBAN ARCH and the development of her recently-submitted NIAAA K award application.


Article Spotlights

Heavy Drinking and Alcohol Use Disorder Symptom Severity Associated with Increased Risk of Fall Among People with HIV

Alcohol use and HIV are both associated with factors that may contribute to an increased risk of falls. URBAN ARCH researchers examined whether there was an association between alcohol consumption (measured via Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test-Consumption [AUDIT-C] or DSM-5 criteria for alcohol use disorder [AUD]) and sustaining a fall among people with HIV (PWH) in Boston, USA (n=251) and St Petersburg, Russia (n=400).

  • Overall, 35% of people in the Boston cohort and 12% of those in the Russia cohort reported a fall.
  • In both cohorts, higher AUD score was associated with an increased risk of fall (odds ratio, 1.10 for each additional AUD criterion), while higher AUDIT-C score was not.
  • Compared with no alcohol use, heavy drinking (i.e., >6 drinks on one occasion) was associated with a more than twofold increase in the risk of sustaining a fall among people in the Boston cohort (adjusted odds ratio, 2.24), but not among people in the Russia cohort.

Comments: This study suggests that while fall risk may vary by setting and population, heavy alcohol consumption and AUD symptom severity are potential targets for decreasing the risk of falls among people with HIV.

Reference: Kim TW, Heeren TC, Samet JH, et al. Alcohol and falls among people with HIV infection: A view from Russia and the United StatesAlcohol Clin Exp Res. 2022;46(9):1742-1752.

Severity of Alcohol Use Disorder Not Associated with HIV Health Outcomes Across Three URBAN ARCH Cohorts

URBAN ARCH researchers conducted a study to explore the association between alcohol use disorder (AUD) and poor HIV health outcomes. People with HIV and alcohol use were recruited in Uganda (n=301), Russia (n=400), and Boston (n=251). Analyses assessed associations between AUD severity and both HIV viral suppression and CD4 count.

  • Participants’ baseline characteristics across sites:
    • Percentage female: 51% (Uganda); 34% (Russia); and 33% (Boston)
    • Mean age: 41 (Uganda); 39 (Russia); 52 (Boston)
    • Receiving antiretroviral therapy: 100% (Uganda); 73% (Russia); 95% (Boston)
  • The percentage of people at each site with AUD was: 32% (Uganda); 92% (Russia); 43% (Boston). The mean number of DSM-5 AUD criteria at each site was: 1.6 (Uganda); 5.6 (Russia); 2.4 (Boston).
  • Most participants had HIV viral suppression (Uganda 92%; Russia 57%; Boston 87%). Participants’ median (IQR) CD4 count was 673 (506, 866), 351 (201, 542), and 591 (387, 881), respectively.
  • Researchers found no associations between AUD severity and HIV viral suppression: adjusted odds ratios (AOR) (95%CI) per 1 additional AUD criterion in Uganda was 1.08 (0.87, 1.33); Russia 0.98 (0.92, 1.04); and Boston 0.95 (0.84, 1.08).
  • There was also no association between AUD severity and CD4 count: mean difference (95%CI) per 1 additional criterion: 5.78 (−7.47, 19.03) in Uganda, −3.23 (−10.91, 4.44) in Russia, and −8.18 (−24.72, 8.35) in Boston.

Comments: Researchers observed high rates of viral suppression across these three international cohorts, even among participants with AUD. These data suggest that AUD severity is not associated with HIV virologic control in a population mainly on ART.

Reference: Bertholet N, Saitz R, Hahn JA, et al. Impact of alcohol use disorder severity on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) viral suppression and CD4 count in three international cohorts of people with HIV. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2023;10.1111/acer.15031.

Visiting Scholar Research-in-Progress Webinar with Dr. Chris Kahler (May 31st, 2023, 12-1pm ET / 9-10am PT)

Dr. Chris Kahler (Brown University) will discuss his team’s NIAAA-funded P01 HIV/Alcohol center, ARCH. This P01 aims to evaluate the most effective ways to implement alcohol interventions in HIV prevention and care through the use of in-person counseling, telehealth, and technology-assisted interventions. Register here and join us on May 31st, 2023 from 12-1pm ET / 9-10am PT.


International URBAN ARCH Center Trainee Workshop – Perfecting Your Pitch: A Workshop to Practice Your Conference Presentation (May 24th, 2023, 3-4pm ET /12-1pm PT)

For this virtual workshop, early stage investigators are invited to submit and present their accepted posters ahead of upcoming summer conferences. Senior URBAN ARCH investigators and mentors will provide feedback on presentations. Early stage investigators who have posters, mentors who want to provide feedback, and other researchers, students, or faculty who just want to observe are all welcome and encouraged to attend. Register here and join us on May 24th, 2023 from 3-4pm ET / 12-1pm PT.

Upcoming Events at RSA 2023 (Bellevue, WA)


META HIV will host an alcohol and HIV satellite meeting at the RSA annual meeting in Bellevue, WA on Saturday, June 24th, from 9am-5pm. The meeting will feature presentations from several other research groups, including URBAN ARCH, ARCHER, SHARC, HARP, and others. Please click here to view an informational flyer for the satellite meeting. You can register for the meeting here. As part of the satellite meeting, International URBAN ARCH Center will be organizing one-on-one mentoring sessions between early stage investigators and senior researchers. These will take place from 4-5pm on Saturday, June 24. You can sign up for these during your registration for the satellite or here.

Additionally, the Biomarkers Users Group (BUGS) will host a symposium entitled “Using Alcohol Biomarkers in Alcohol Intervention Research” on Sunday, June 25th at 1:20pm. Click here or email Judy Hahn for more information about the symposium.

New URBAN ARCH Publications

Events and Conferences

Click here for more events and conferences.