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Transforming the understanding
and treatment of mental illnesses.

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NIMH Mental Health and HIV/AIDS Research Centers


Christopher Gordon, Ph.D.
Division of AIDS Research (DAR)


The proposed concept would be a reissue of the Division of AIDS Research (DAR) program announcements that support Center Core grants (P30) for HIV/AIDS Research Centers (ARCs) and Developmental Centers (D-ARCs). The goal of the initiative is to fund Centers that provide infrastructure for the development of high impact science in HIV/AIDS and mental health that is relevant to the NIMH mission. The intent of D-ARC support is that the Core activities will allow the D-ARC to compete successfully for a full ARC after the D-ARC award period.


NIMH ARCs and D-ARCs align with the DAR scientific emphases by orienting toward a HIV behavioral science or neuro-HIV focus. The proposed Center priorities should align with the National HIV/AIDS Strategy , the NIH Office of AIDS Research (OAR) strategic plan , and the NIMH Strategic Plan for Research with respect to HIV research.

ARC awards support the centralized coordination of affiliated research activities, foster the development of scientific innovations and new collaborations, encourage interdisciplinary research, and facilitate the dissemination of public health advances to implementing agencies, academia, affected communities, and policymakers. The Centers must have the potential to support research over a range of cross-cutting areas that may include biological, biomedical, behavioral, neuroscience, mental health, prevention, clinical sciences, and implementation science research.

This initiative would update the research areas of interest to reflect advances in the field, as well as anticipating needs in the field that will require innovative directions. Research may include:  

  1. Studies to address systemic factors that influence health disparities in all aspects of HIV treatment and prevention (e.g., intersectional stigma and discrimination);
  2. Examination of multi-level factors influencing adoption, adherence, and use of HIV prevention and treatment regimens, including novel long-acting HIV prevention and treatment modalities (e.g., vaginal rings, long-acting injections, implants, broadly neutralizing antibodies, and vaccines);
  3. Implementation science involving collaborations with entities funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Human Resource Services Administration (HRSA), or other implementing agencies, including local (e.g., city, state) health departments and community-based organizations;
  4. Understanding the cellular, molecular, and genetic mechanisms of HIV-associated central nervous system (CNS) dysfunction and mental health outcomes in people living with HIV (PLHIV), including: identification and targeting of latent CNS reservoirs; pre-clinical therapeutics to treat HIV-associated CNS dysfunction; and novel imaging strategies to assess CNS disease and viral reservoirs in PLHIV.