May 22, 2017

Charlene Dezzutti, PhD, primary investigator at Magee-Womens Research Institute and Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences, received a grant to support her work investigating factors that may increase the risk of HIV acquisition in adolescent girls.

The 4-year, $1.8 million R01 grant from the NICHD is for her study entitled “Hormones, Immunity and HIV Risk.”

In 2015, people between the ages of 13-24 years old in the U.S. accounted for 22% of all new HIV infections. The goal of the research project is to determine if progestins used in long-acting reversible contraceptives, like implants, will increase adolescent risk for HIV acquisition.

Dr. Dezzutti commented on the study and grant, “In some clinical trials, there has been a modest link between contraceptive use and an increase in acquiring HIV. This new grant will help us understand changes that happen to the young woman after use of a hormone contraceptive that may increase her HIV risk. This will be the first time that we will be able to link the changes – such as immune cell populations, soluble markers, and HIV infection – to elucidate the HIV risk.”