USF launches HIV study and testing initiative for Hispanic adolescents

Tampa, FL (June 20, 2011) – The University of South Florida Department of Pediatrics is conducting an innovative study for youth, ages 13 to 24, who may be HIV infected but are undiagnosed and not showing symptoms. Researchers will target Latino men who have sex with men and heterosexual Latina women to receive HIV testing and recruit others who are at-risk for HIV.

The program is unique because it employs social networks of friends, family members, and intimate partners to recruit additional study participants and send HIV risk reduction messages. Venues will also be set up to provide location-based testing to reach youth where they gather.

USF is conducting the only study in the Tampa Bay area to reach this particular population as part of the national Adolescent Medicine Trials Network for HIV/AIDS Interventions.

“These youth are increasingly at risk for HIV, especially given the considerable stigma surrounding the disease,” said Karina Pineda, a community liaison and researcher for the study. “Many also have the disease but don’t know it yet, so we’ll be making a vital connection with them through this study.”

The program will run through August 2012 and is led by Principal Investigator Diane Straub, MD, MPH, associate professor of pediatrics and chief of the USF Division of Adolescent Medicine. Funding is provided by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the National Institute of Mental Health.

Over 250 study participants will receive a limited number of gift cards in appreciation of their time, so early enrollment is encouraged. Please call (813) 417-5095 or search “Hablemos del VIH” on Facebook for more information.

Media contact:
USF Department of Pediatrics
Peter Gamache, PhD, (813) 417-5095 or

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