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Profile of the Portfolio of NIH-Funded HIV Implementation Research Projects to Inform Ending the HIV Epidemic Strategies

Queiroz A, Mongrella M, Keiser B, Li DH, Benbow N, Mustanski B.

Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes

Background: The US government created an initiative to end the HIV epidemic in the United States by the year 2030 (EHE). This multiagency initiative was structured around four pillars: Prevent, Diagnose, Treat, and Respond to improve HIV programs, resources, and service delivery infrastructure. In support of its research mission, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has funded implementation research (IR) projects by addressing the four pillars and encouraging investigators to collaborate with local partners and Health and Human Services (HHS) grantees in 57 priority jurisdictions.

Methods: This paper analyzed data from the NIH funded CFAR/ARC supplement projects from 2019 to 2021. The Exploration, Preparation, Implementation, Sustainment (EPIS) framework was used to characterize projects by stage of implementation.

Results: The Prevent pillar was most frequently studied, with Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) being the most studied intervention. The most common partners were health departments, community-based organizations (CBOs), and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs). The Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR) framework was the most utilized to investigate implementation determinants, followed by the RE-AIM framework and Proctor model to assess implementation outcomes.

Conclusion: Monitoring the projects resulting from NIH investments is fundamental to understanding the response to EHE, and achieving these results requires systematic and continuous effort that can support the generalizable implementation knowledge emerging from individual studies. There are some remaining gaps in the project portfolio, including geographical coverage, range of implementation outcomes being measured, and interventions still requiring further research to ensure equitable scale-up of evidence based interventions and achieve EHE goals.

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