For Immediate Release

October 1, 2007

New York, NY – Dr. Vincent Guilamo-Ramos, Associate professor, and Dr. Denise Burnette, Professor, at the Columbia University School of Social Work (CUSSW) will be conducting a formative research study on family-based approaches to reducing adolescent vulnerability to HIV-infection and address the HIV prevention needs of rural families in Maharashtra, India. The project is an international collaboration between faculty at CUSSW and the School of Social Work at the Tata Institute for Social Sciences (TISS) in Mumbai, India.

Funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and the Indian Council of Medical Research, the project is a collaborative effort between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Indian Department of Health and Family Welfare to conduct research and research training in the fight against HIV/AIDS in India. The study aims to develop a targeted, family-based intervention to reduce vulnerability to HIV infection among rural Indian youth aged 14-18. The research team will conduct in-depth interviews, focus groups and a cross-sectional study with rural Indian parents and adolescents.

“HIV/AIDS among adolescents in India is a serious public health concern,” says Dr. Burnette. “In a recent study of HIV-related knowledge in rural Maharashtra, only 49% of the girls and women aged 15-24 were aware of AIDS, and only 60% reported that AIDS could be avoided.”

“This study will provide important insights into parent-adolescent communication about HIV and the acceptability of different HIV  behavioral and bio-medical prevention methods for Indian families,” says Dr. Guilamo-Ramos. “The research will lead to and provide evidence for a subsequent proposal to conduct a large-scale clinical trial in India.”

In addition to Dr. Guilamo-Ramos and Dr. Burnette, the investigative team includes Dr. Asha Banu Soletti, Assistant professor at TISS, and Dr. Vimla Nadkarni, Dean and Professor at TISS.

For more information, please contact Jeannie Hii at 212-851-2327 or jy2223@columbia.edu.

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