NIH HIV/AIDS Research Priorities Webinar and FAQs

Webinar on Research Priorities


Webinar Questions and Answers

We have tried to answer your questions thoroughly and thoughtfully. Please keep in mind that the final determination of whether a study is high, medium, or low priority is made by OAR. OAR also makes the final determination on prorating of AIDS funding for a given application.

  • Question: You spoke about a reevaluation of currently funded projects over the next 4-5 years. Are currently funded projects at risk to be defunded if they are AIDS projects that are not deemed to be in line with current priorities?
    Answer: Projects can continue until the end of their project period. Competitive renewals of low priority projects will not be funded with AIDS appropriated funds; they will be eligible for funding with non-AIDS dollars.
  • Question: You said there’s no longer a 10% mandated set-aside for HIV, yet you showed a table of proportional use of “AIDS Dollars” based on a programmatic judgment of HIV-relevance. I’m not understanding how these two statements reconcile.  Is there still a set aside, just not 10%?  Up to IC’s now?
    Answer: Up until now, 10% of the NIH budget was dedicated to HIV/AIDS research so if the overall NIH budget increased, 10% of that went to AIDS. There is still a dedicated AIDS budget, but it will no longer be set at 10% of the overall NIH budget.  This will allow NIH to put added resources into other areas. Within the AIDS dollars, there is a shifting of dollars to support high priority research.
    • Related Question 1: Am I correct in understanding that studies of behavioral HIV prevention interventions will be considered low-priority unless the studies can directly address HIV testing, diagnosis, or care outcomes?
      Answer: Behavioral interventions should address one of the new NIH priorities. The slide on low priority behavioral research addressed studies that list HIV as one of many outcomes such as a study of drug abuse treatment that lists reducing HIV risk behaviors as a possible outcome in a laundry list of possible outcomes.
    • Related Question 2:  Related, are studies addressing sexual risk behaviors such as condom nonuse and outcomes such as STDs no longer be funded with AIDS monies?
    • Answer: Sexual risk behavior is still important but, fortunately in most places, HIV incidence is too low to be an outcome, so STI incidence can be used as a marker for sexual risk behavior. For example, see “Effect of risk-reduction counseling with rapid HIV testing on risk of acquiring sexually transmitted infections: the AWARE randomized clinical trial” JAMA. 2013 Oct 23;310(16):1701-10
    • Related Question 3:  The webinar slide that says “Substantiate that proposed research…” – research on sexual and drug behaviors may very well be related to HIV risk and prevention, but measuring HIV outcomes directly may be difficult in young population. Will this sort of research in adolescents no longer be funded using AIDS dollars?
      Answer: The youth being studied should be at high risk for HIV—what is the HIV prevalence in the area where you are conducting your study?
    • Related Question 4: If so, could the number of proposals addressing sexual risk behaviors, outcomes, and interventions for young populations go down?
      Answer: Adolescents and young adults have been the focus of past NIDA RFAs and are an important HIV research area.
    • Related Question 5: Does the pro-rate scheme address the low-, medium-, or high-priority nature of the AIDS component?
      Answer: Prorating is the proportion of an application that is considered to be HIV/AIDS. For example, if only one of four equal aims addresses HIV, then only 25% of its funding could be from AIDS appropriated funds. Prorating is only relevant for applications that will be considered for funding with AIDS appropriated funds; therefor, low priority applications are not prorated.
  • Question:  You listed "Seek, Test, Treat Retain" as well as "Improving HIV Care Continuum". Are these different?
    Answer: They are related concepts. Seek, Test, Treat, and Retain is a strategy to address HIV in high-risk populations. The Continuum of Care is typically a snapshot of progress within a given community. Improving the U.S. Continuum of Care is an aim of the National strategy. Many cities and counties use the continuum of care to assess their progress.
  • Question: Is research to strengthen SBIRT model among HIV patients a priority of NIDA?
    Answer: SBIRT research per se is not high priority research even if it is being used among HIV patients.
  • Question: Will OAR do a pre review of aims to determine which priority area a project falls into?
    Answer: No, OAR will not do a pre-review of aims.
  • Question: Do the HIV/deadlines still apply?
    Answer: Yes
  • Question: How does an application’s score relate to whether it is high priority or not?
    Answer: OAR does not consider scientific merit in determining priority. An application could be of high scientific merit as determined by a scientific review committee but not focus on a high priority HIV/AIDS research topic, which is what OAR determines.