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UAB Center for AIDS Research receives $7.5 million grant renewal

Jessa Reid Bolling

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The University of Alabama at Birmingham Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) received a $7.5 million grant renewal from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to further their research in therapeutics, prevention, community-engaged research, and clinical manifestations and pathogenesis of HIV and related disorders. 

Now in its 31st year of research, UAB’s CFAR will use the grant to address HIV in Alabama and the Southeast through research of the social, behavioral and clinical dynamics that contribute to HIV exposure and transmission in the region.

Michael Saag, M.D., director of UAB’s CFAR and professor in the UAB School of Medicine, said the grant renewal will help the research center to more closely focus on working with community partners to deliver services to the community with the goal of improving outcomes in their patients.

“We’re positioned right in the epicenter of the HIV epidemic in the South, which means we are able to tackle some of the field’s most pressing emerging challenges and expand our role as leaders in the fight against HIV regionally, nationally and internationally,” Saag said.

CFAR has established the “Ending HIV in Alabama” group, a statewide, interdisciplinary group of researchers and physicians led by Jeanne Marrazzo, M.D., and Aadia Rana, M.D., both of UAB’s Division of Infectious Diseases. 

The “Ending HIV in Alabama” group will partner with local and state health departments, AIDS organizations and other related stakeholders to further the 90-90-90 treatment goals across the state of Alabama, which includes 90 percent of all individuals with HIV knowing this diagnosis, 90 percent of those diagnosed being on treatment and 90 percent of those on treatment achieving suppression of their virus.

Marrazzo said that, with the grant renewal, CFAR anticipates getting closer to their 90-90-90 goals and making a significant impact in Alabama over the next five years.

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“This grant renewal will help UAB CFAR reach tremendous, lifesaving goals and will help us keep moving forward in fighting and eradicating HIV,” Marrazzo said. 

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According to the Center for Disease Control, southern states made up 52 percent of the new HIV diagnoses in the United States in 2017 with 19,968 new cases. 

An estimated 1.1 million people in the United States had HIV at the end of 2016. Of those people, about 14 percent, or 1 in 7, did not know they had HIV.

 

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