The logo for the RADAR Project, which features several nodes connected to each other above the word "RADAR". The overall goal of the RADAR study is to identify and understand the connections among sexually transmitted infections (like HIV), drug and alcohol use, and romantic or sexual relationship patterns over time among young men who have sex with men (YMSM). This cooperative agreement with the National Institute on Drug Abuse marks the first time that one study will look at drivers of new HIV infections at multiple levels– the genetics of the virus, effects of medications, individual behavior, sexual partner and relationship characteristics, networks, and community-level factors.

If you are a RADAR participant looking for information on your next interview, you can contact us at (773) 417-9772!

The aims of the RADAR study are as follows:

  • Understand how co-occurring problems (or “syndemics”) of substance use, HIV, sexually transmitted infections, mental disorders, and violence develop among YMSM and their partners over time
  • Determine how relationship characteristics (or dyadic processes) influence HIV risk behaviors and transmission among YMSM
  • Describe networks and social influences on “syndemic” development among YMSM
  • Determine if, and how, substance use increases risk of HIV infection and the amount of HIV, or viral load, in a person’s blood

We will accomplish these aims by enrolling YMSM who have participated in other IMPACT research studies, as well as new participants. As participants develop serious partners, we will enroll those individuals to build a larger cohort of approximately 1,350 participants over the course of this five-year study.

The RADAR Team

The scientific team on this grant is comprised of an interdisciplinary team of researchers, including psychologists, physicians, virologists, network scientists, and statisticians. Most are from Northwestern University, but the team also includes scientists at Oxford University and the University of Edinburgh.

The Center on Halsted is a partner in the study, along with Chicago Department of Public Health and community-based organizations like Vida/SIDA.

Next Steps

To reduce high rates of HIV infection among YMSM, this research will serve as a platform to launch a wide range of innovative research efforts and future prevention programs.

Enrollment and data collection began February 2015. More information about RADAR can be found in articles in the Chicago Tribune or Windy City Times.

Investigator: Dr. Brian Mustanski
Co-Investigators:  Drs. Michelle Birkett, Noshir Contractor, Richard D’Aquila, Daniel K. Mroczek, Michael Newcomb
Project Director:  Antonia Clifford
Funder:  National Institute on Drug Abuse