ASA member Sam Friedman has become the first sociologist to win the prestigious Avant-Garde Award for HIV/AIDS Research. This award is sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health and it ” is intended to stimulate high-impact research that may lead to groundbreaking opportunities for the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS in drug abusers.” Dr. Friedman will receive $500,000 per year for five years to support their research.
Here is a description of has research from NIDA.
Project: Preventing HIV transmission by recently-infected drug users
Dr. Friedman’s research team plans to identify people newly infected with HIV and link them to care, since the first few months of infection represent a period of high infectivity and risk behavior. Novel interventions that include community alerts and education within affected drug using and other social networks and venues, and efforts to prevent stigmatization of the newly-infected, will be developed and tested to prevent further spread within the community.
“Unlike many other HIV prevention and treatment methods, this technique will follow the virus to where it is likely to be transmitted,” said Friedman. “We will start with drug users, but the network and community aspects of the project mean that we will also prevent transmissions among other high-risk persons if the infection chains lead us to them.”
Two other scientists also received this award in 2012; Drs. David Smith and Jeremy Luban.