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Fenway Health and the 2018 International AIDS Conference

Understanding syndemics. Developing strategies to overcome barriers to care for transgender people. Expanding access to PrEP. Using digital technologies to stop HIV.

These are some of the areas that scientists and researchers at The Fenway Institute are exploring to fight the HIV pandemic in the U.S. and around the world. Next week, a team of five Fenway scientists and researchers led by Kenneth H. Mayer, M.D., Medical Research Director and Co-Chair of The Fenway Institute, will bring their latest findings to the International AIDS Conference (IAC) in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Now in its 22nd year, the IAC features experts in science, public policy, and public health presenting new research in HIV treatment, prevention, and awareness. These experts, working in collaboration with a powerful community of those affected by HIV, then try to figure out how to best turn these advances into action in doctor’s offices, AIDS service organizations, and community-based organizations.

The following research by Fenway-affiliated scientists, researchers, and policymakers will be presented at the IAC, which takes place from July 23-27.

Digital technology

Mayer and Katie Biello, PHD, MPH, an Assistant Professor at Brown University and Research Scientist at The Fenway Institute, will present on “Repurposed technology: the process of integrating location-based alerts into an HIV testing app for young men who have sex with men.” Matthew Mimiaga, Senior Research Scientist and the Director of Epidemiology and Global Health Research at The Fenway Institute, is a co-author of this research.

Transgender health

Mayer will present on “PrEP Uptake and Persistence in a Sample of Trans MSM in the United States.”

Research co-authored by Biello, Mimiaga and Sari L. Reisner, Sc.D., an Assistant Prof at Harvard Medical School and Research Scientist at The Fenway Institute who is based at Children’s Hospital, on the “Burden of HIV among young transgender women: Factors associated with HIV infection and HIV treatment engagement” will be presented.

Research co-authored by Biello and Mimiaga on the barriers that adolescent transgender females face in adhering to antiretroviral therapy (ART) will also be presented.


Biello will present on “A missing perspective: Injectable pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for people who inject drugs.” Mimiaga is a co-author of the research.

Sarah Calabrese, an Assistant Professor at George Washington University and mentee of Mayer’s, will present on “Considering bias in the provision of PrEP: Reflections from early-adopting prescribers.”

Mimiaga will present on “Reality vs. perception: Differences in self-reported behavioral risk compensation between PrEP users and non-users in a large sample of American MSM.” Biello is a co-author of the research.

HIV and STIs

Mayer will lead a pre-conference session called “STI 2018: Understanding and Addressing the HIV and STI Syndemics,” which will explore the state of knowledge, best practices, and the research agenda for HIV and STIs. He will also co-present at the session on “Emerging issues regarding the global HIV and STI response.”

Satyanand Satyanarayana, a graduate student at the University of Florida where he also works for Fenway affiliated scientist Steven Safren, Ph.D., ABPP, will present on “Syndemics predict bio-behavioral HIV sexual transmission risk (TRB) longitudinally in US HIV clinics.” Mayer is a co-author of the research.

Risk factors

Biello will present on “Violence victimization among male sex workers in the U.S. Northeast.”

Mimiaga and Mayer are co-authors of the research.

Mayer will co-chair the oral abstract session, “It’s raining men: Key statistics for engagement.”

Roland Merchant, D.Sc., M.D., of Brigham and Women’s Hospital will present on “Are US black, Hispanic and white young men who have sex with men (YMSM) at risk for HIV acquisition being tested in accordance with national HIV testing recommendations?” Mayer is a co-author of the research.

Mimiaga will present on “Behavioral activation integrated with sexual risk reduction counseling for high-risk MSM with crystal methamphetamine dependence: An initial randomized controlled trial.” Biello and Reisner are co-authors of the research.

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