Current Projects

Addressing the Needs of Parents Living with HIV

Preventing the Intergenerational Transmission of Risk

With nearly 20,000 South Carolina residents living with HIV, the state ranks 11th in the U.S. for HIV prevalence and 8th for incidence (SC DHEC, 2018; CDC, 2017). Many people living with HIV (PLWH) are also raising children and adolescents. HIV can be associated with a range of unique challenges, including elevated parenting stress, compromises in parenting quality, and stress regarding the decision of whether to disclose their status to their children. PLWH are also likely to face concurrent challenges with trauma exposure, mental health concerns, physical health limitations, and substance abuse. Furthermore, adolescent children of PLWH are at increased risk of experiencing adjustment difficulties, including emotional and behavioral problems, exposure to traumatic events, and posttraumatic stress (Li et al., 2009). The purpose of the PATH study is to conduct an in-depth, mixed-methods needs assessment of the unique challenges facing parents living with HIV, their adolescent children, and healthcare providers working with PLWH. Findings will facilitate our understanding of the intergenerational transmission of risk related to HIV, substance use, and trauma, and will highlight targets for prevention. Our long-term goal is to establish an academic-community partnership based on CBPR principles to improve supports and services for families affected by HIV in the Lowcountry.

Funding: Community-Engaged Scholars Program

South Carolina Clinical & Translational Research Institute

National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (UL1 TR001450, PI: Brady)

Role: Pilot Project PI

Targeting Parenting to Prevent HIV and Substance Use Among Trauma-Exposed Youth

Most adolescents are likely to experience some form of victimization in their lifetime, which can lead to higher engagement in substance use and sexual risk behaviors, increasing the likelihood of HIV infection. Positive parenting practices can reduce adolescents’ engagement in substance use and sexual risk behaviors. However, no interventions exist targeting parenting to reduce both HIV-related risk and substance use for trauma-exposed youth. This mixed-methods study will gather descriptive data to guide the future development of a trauma-informed, culturally relevant, family-based preventive intervention targeting parenting to reduce adolescents’ risk of substance abuse and HIV infection. The aims of this project are to (1) quantitatively investigate relations among parenting practices, trauma-related mental health symptoms, substance abuse, and HIV risk among a clinical sample of trauma-exposed adolescents, and (2) conduct a needs assessment through focus groups and individual interviews to guide intervention development.


HIV/AIDS, Substance Abuse, and Trauma Training Program (HA-STTP)

University of California, Los Angeles

National Institute of Drug Abuse (R25DA035692; PI: Gail Wyatt, Ph.D.)

Role: HA-STTP Scholar


Building a Transdisciplinary Collaboration for Integrated HIV/PTSD Care to Address Mental Health and Risk Reduction

Despite the significant overlap between HIV and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), clinical services and research efforts among these populations is largely siloed. A transdisciplinary, team science approach is needed to better serve these patient populations and conduct integrated research. The purpose of the Team REACH (Resiliency, Engagement, and Accessibility for Comorbid HIV/PTSD Populations) study is to explore barriers and facilitators to transdisciplinary HIV/trauma clinical and research collaborations at MUSC. Specific aims are to (1) explore perceived barriers and facilitators to transdisciplinary collaboration between HIV care team (ID clinic) and trauma treatment team (NCVC), through qualitative interviews and quantitative measures with clinicians, case managers, clinical directors, and clinical supervisors in both clinics (n=20); and (2) evaluate initial feasibility of service co-location by conducting a single case study where trauma treatment services will be provided within the ID clinic.


Team Science Pilot Project Grant
South Carolina Clinical and Translational Research Institute
National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (UL1 TR001450, PI: Brady)
Role: Pilot Project PI