The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has awarded New York University Rory Meyers College of Nursing Assistant Professor Yzette Lanier, PhD, a four-year, $1,200,000 grant to conduct a tri-phasic study to develop an evidence-informed HIV behavioral intervention focused on Black heterosexually identified young couples.

nyu-meyers-yzette-lanier-awarded-12-million-from-cdc-for-hiv-behavioral-intervention-based-on-couples-dynamics
Yzette Lanier, PhD

The study is unique as it will focus on identifying HIV intervention strategies for Black heterosexual youth as couples in the South Bronx

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has awarded New York University Rory Meyers College of Nursing Assistant Professor Yzette Lanier, PhD, a four-year, $1,200,000 grant to conduct a tri-phasic study to develop an evidence-informed HIV behavioral intervention focused on Black heterosexually identified young couples.

“There’s a gaping hole in our national efforts to prevent HIV transmission-- heterosexual Black youth, particularly males, continue to be overlooked,” says Dr. Lanier. “What’s most shocking about this is that young Black males and females are disproportionately affected by HIV.”

While young Black men who have sex with men (YBMSM) remain at greatest risk for infection, there is growing concern regarding youth with heterosexually acquired HIV infections. Over one-third (35%) of HIV infections among Blacks, as a group, are attributable to heterosexual contact.

In the first two phases of the study entitled, "The development of a couples-focused HIV behavioral intervention to enhance uptake of evidenced informed combination HIV preventative methods for high-risk heterosexually-identified Black youth and their romantic partners," Dr. Lanier plans to characterize, how Black youth and their romantic partners negotiate the use of HIV prevention methods, such as routine STI screenings and consistent condom use. To do this, Dr. Lanier and her team will conduct both qualitative interviews (phase one) and then quantitate surveys (phase two) with young heterosexual Black couples living in the three high HIV and poverty prevalence communities within the South Bronx.

Dr. Lanier elaborates that there is a great deal of intentionality behind the selection of this sample population.

“The fact of the matter is, Black youth living in South Bronx and other low-income urban Northeastern cities, are at heightened risk for contracting HIV,” says Dr. Lanier. “Statistically, the HIV prevalence among Black heterosexuals is much higher in these communities than in the general U.S. heterosexual population,” she said.

Dr. Lanier will take a unique approach with her study by conducting the interviews with couples, as existing HIV behavioral prevention interventions are primarily based upon individuals’ determinants of sexual behavior.

“Scant attention is given to the broader context in which sexual behavior and decision-making occur,” Dr. Lanier noted. “We need to change this thinking in order to have the most effective prevention outcomes.”

Her dyadic approach, which incorporates the perspectives of both couple members, will elucidate how both individual-level determinants and relationship dynamics together influence initiation and ongoing use of HIV prevention methods.

In the final part of her study, Dr. Lanier will use the information her team collects in the first two phases to design a culturally and developmentally tailored, scalable, couples-focused, and innovative HIV preventative intervention strategy for high-risk heterosexually identified Black youth and their romantic partners.

Dr. Lanier received this grant through the CDC’s Minority HIV/AIDS Research Initiative (MARI) to Build HIV Prevention, Treatment, and Research Capacity in Disproportionately Affected Black and Hispanic Communities and Among Historically Underrepresented Researchers. This specific grant is only offered every four years.

“I am honored to have received funding through MARI, a unique grant mechanism that invests in early career investigators, conducting HIV research in disproportionately affected communities,” said Dr. Lanier.

About the NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing
The NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing is a global leader in nursing education, research, and practice. It offers a Bachelor of Science with a major in Nursing, a Master of Science and Post-Master’s Certificate Programs, a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree and a Doctor of Philosophy in nursing research and theory development. 

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