As we enter the fourth decade of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, the impact on vulnerable populations remains one of the most pressing social welfare concerns of our time. Recognizing that disparities in HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) result from a complex interplay of biological, behavioral, and structural factors that confer unequal opportunities for risk and protection, it is now widely accepted that effective HIV/STI prevention must address the synergy between these key elements and as such, must be interdisciplinary. In addition, the importance of strong research-community partnerships across all levels of the research process cannot be overstated, as it is estimated that effective interventions only reach 1% of their targeted populations.
The STI and HIV Intervention Network (SHINE) was developed to conduct innovative multidisciplinary problem-solving research to reduce the disproportionate impact of STIs and HIV on vulnerable populations. The network focuses specifically on populations for whom few effective HIV/STI interventions currently exist, such as men who have sex with men (MSM), criminal justice-affected populations, minority youth, and young couples. The specific aims of SHINE are:
- To establish a sustainable interdisciplinary network of HIV/STI prevention scientists and community partners focused on the development and dissemination of impactful, problem-solving research on HIV/STI prevention.
- To conduct innovative interdisciplinary biomedical, behavioral, and structural intervention research aimed at reducing existing HIV/STI disparities in vulnerable populations.