Engaging the dental workforce to end the HIV epidemic in the U.S. (UG3/UH3 Clinical Trial Required)
The purpose of this initiative is to support intervention research aimed at equipping the dental workforce in meeting the unique needs of people living with HIV (PLWH) or at risk of contracting HIV. This initiative aligns with the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) plan, Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America, which identifies four broad goals: 1) Diagnose individuals infected with HIV as soon as possible after infection; 2) Treat HIV infection rapidly and effectively to achieve sustained viral suppression; 3) Protect people at risk for HIV using potent and proven prevention strategies, including Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP); and 4) Respond rapidly to detect growing HIV clusters and to prevent new HIV infections. Dental care providers may have unique opportunities to contribute to these efforts, but there are also significant challenges. Among the most commonly-cited challenges are concerns about patient acceptability, the need for appropriate provider training and support, fitting HIV-related services into the dental clinic workflow, complex and variable laws related to HIV service-provision, and billing and reimbursement systems necessary for sustainability. Applications in response to this FOA should propose to develop, adapt, and/or test interventions to equip dental care providers to participate in and/or to provide HIV-related services, consistent with those identified in the DHHS plan. Proposed interventions should address one or more challenges currently preventing greater participation by dental care providers, and can aim to overcome barriers at any relevant socioecological level (e.g., individual patient or provider, community, clinic, care organization). Awards made under this FOA will initially support a milestone-driven planning phase (UG3) for up to 2 years, with possible transition to a clinical trial implementation phase of up to five years (UH3).