DC CFAR Awarded NIH Funding to Implement Administration’s HIV Initiative

The District of Columbia Center for AIDS Research (DC CFAR), based at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH), has received supplemental funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to conduct research aimed at ending the HIV epidemic.

The initiative will be coordinated by a DC CFAR working group, led by Amanda Castel, MD, MPH, a professor of epidemiology at Milken Institute SPH; Michael Kharfen, senior deputy director of the HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD and TB Administration at the District of Columbia Department of Health; and Marcia Ellis, chair of the DC CFAR Community Advisory Board.

NIH today announced the funding of 23 institutions across the United States to help enhance the research base needed to implement the Trump Administration’s HIV initiative, “Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America.” The plan aims to reduce new HIV diagnoses in the United States by 75 percent in five years and by 90 percent by 2030.

The DC CFAR is one of 19 NIH-funded Centers for AIDS Research (CFARs) in the U.S., a network that supports research aimed at reducing the burden of HIV domestically and globally. With support from the new award, DC CFAR will build upon relationships with health authorities in the District, community-based groups and federal agencies to identify and evaluate strategies to identify new cases of HIV, help connect people living with HIV or at risk of HIV with health care and prevention services, and ensure they continue to receive care to treat or prevent HIV.

“The DC CFAR is honored to have the opportunity to contribute to this important national initiative,” said Alan Greenberg, MD, MPH, director of DC CFAR and chair of the Department of Epidemiology at Milken Institute SPH.

“We have made enormous progress in the prevention and treatment of HIV infection, but there are still too many newly infected individuals here and elsewhere and this grant will be important in reducing infections and ending the HIV epidemic,” said Gary Simon, MD, PhD, Walter G. Ross Professor of Medicine at GW’s School of Medicine & Health Sciences (SMHS).

The one-year awards support pilot and formative studies. Four research proposals from DC CFAR were awarded funding, including proposals to:

  • Expand access to Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a daily medication that allows at-risk HIV negative individuals to protect themselves from infection, in high-risk communities across the District.
  • Engage the DC community to help improve surveillance-driven prevention and care initiatives
  • Increase rapid initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) among newly diagnosed individuals in the District to improve care and reduce HIV transmission.
  • Collaborate with community groups, public health agencies and academic institutions in Puerto Rico to strengthen the island’s prevention response to the HIV epidemic. 

The DC CFAR is a multi-institutional partnership that includes three schools at the George Washington University (Milken Institute SPH, SMHS and the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences), American University, Children's National Health System, DC Department of Health, Georgetown University, Howard University, Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Whitman-Walker Health. The consortium represents 227 investigators from the eight institutions. Investigators from across the institutions will participate in the initiative.

A full list of awards and descriptions of research can be found online here. To learn more about DC CFAR, click here.