Volume 5, Issue 3

July 2018 – September 2018

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

URBAN ARCH Expands Sample Collection and Assessment

In this issue of the URBAN ARCH newsletter we will describe our sample collection and testing techniques.

In the News

  • New Grant: Congratulations to Drs. Christine Cheng and Andrew Henderson on receiving funding for an R61 to characterize the effects of opioid use disorder on host immune function, HIV replication, and HIV latency.
  • New Grant: Congratulations to Dr. Karsten Lunze on receiving funding for an R00 which will investigate the role of double stigma related to HIV & substance use among HIV-infected people with addictions and its relations to health and health care.

Spotlight on…Susie Kim

In this issue, we interview Susie Kim, a Senior Research Project Manager for the Boston ARCH study.




On The Ground

Click on the buttons to see what the URBAN ARCH Cohorts and Cores have been working on.


Article Spotlight
This section highlights and provides brief summaries of URBAN ARCH research and their clinical significance.

False-positive Diagnoses Provide a Learning Opportunity for HIV Studies in International Settings

International HIV studies may present challenges, including accurate assessment of participants’ study entry criteria. URBAN ARCH researchers recently examined why unexpectedly high numbers of study participants were determined to have an undetectable HIV viral load in Russian and Ugandan cohorts who were thought to have HIV and to be antiretroviral therapy (ART)-naïve at study entry. To qualify for the study, Russian participants had provided written documentation of HIV infection and ART-naïve status; similarly, Ugandan participants’ eligibility was confirmed by investigators via a clinic database. However, post-enrollment baseline testing of samples from both cohorts via enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay HIV testing and testing for ART revealed that…

  • In the Russian cohort, 16% of participants (58/360) had undetectable viremia; 3% (9/360) re-tested HIV-seronegative and 4% (13/360) tested positive for ART.
  • In the Ugandan cohort, 11% of participants (55/482) had undetectable viremia; 5% (26/482) re-tested HIV-seronegative and <1% (4/482) tested positive for ART.

Comments: Researchers determined that a number of participants in both cohorts did not have HIV. A small proportion of participants in both cohorts had also received ART, although the proportion in the Uganda cohort was less than one percent. Lessons learned include the need for confirmatory HIV testing to substantiate self-report and rapid testing results, and increased scrutiny of medication use among ART-naïve cohorts prior to randomization or initiation of other study procedures.

Reference: Coleman SM, Gnatienko N, Lloyd-Travaglini CA, et al. False-positive HIV diagnoses: lessons from Ugandan and Russian research cohorts. HIV Clin Trials. 2018 Feb;19(1):15–22.

Article Spotlight summary by URBAN ARCH editor Katherine Calver, PhD

Selected NIH Notices and Funding Opportunities

  • Improving Implementation of Seek, Test, Treat & Retain Strategies among People Who Inject Drugs in Low to Middle Income Countries (RFA-DA-18-017)
    National Institute of Drug Abuse

    Application Due Date: 11/15/2018 
  • Women & Sex/Gender Differences in Drug and Alcohol Abuse/Dependence (PA-18-603)
    Requests broad public input and feedback from interested constituents for the development of the fiscal year 2021-2023 Trans-NIH Strategic Plan for HIV and HIV-Related Research.
    Application Due Date: Standard Dates

Click here for more funding announcements related to HIV and alcohol research.

Events and Conferences

Please email Carly Bridden if you will be attending any these meetings, so we can connect you with our investigators.

Click here for more events and conferences.