NIAID issued Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): HIV/AIDS in the Era of COVID-19: When Pandemics Collide (NOT-AI-21-057) to prompt research projects to quantify the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on HIV prevention, incidence, transmission, and outcomes. The NOSI emphasizes NIAID and other Institutes’ interest in research on strategies needed to adapt the HIV/AIDS response through agile and innovative support of prevention, care, and maintenance of sustained HIV viral suppression during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On July 21, NIAID Funding News released Epidemiology Research To Evaluate Impact of COVID-19 on the HIV Epidemic, which provides additional detail on NIAID-specific areas of interest for this NOSI.

Research Objectives

HIV remains a major global public health concern with an estimated 1.2 million American people living with HIV (PLWH). Despite the decline in the number of new HIV transmissions, many PLWH or people at risk of acquiring HIV do not have access to prevention, treatment, or care.

The COVID-19 pandemic may have disrupted HIV treatment and prevention programs for PLWH who already face systemic health disparities, comorbidities, and socio-economic inequalities that make them vulnerable to COVID-19. Public health mitigation efforts to control COVID-19 may create barriers to consistent care for PLWH and result in more severe diseases and hospitalizations.

NIAID-Specific Areas of Interest

NIAID seeks to promote research that explores the interplay between protective effects, immunologic responses, and emergence of COVID-19 variants in PLWH. The Institute also encourages the use of data science and epidemic modeling approaches for interruptions in prevention and care, as well as investigations into local complications of healthcare burdens and barriers to HIV control.

Below are a sample of research areas that interest NIAID. Read the announcement linked above for a complete list.

  • Improve understanding of HIV risk, health-seeking behaviors, and complex contextual environment during an acute respiratory pandemic.
  • Document the impact of COVID-19 infection risk and disruption of treatment on HIV transmission and outbreak.
  • Evaluate exacerbation of long-term systematic disparities and health determinants associated with poor health outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Determine the contribution of HIV immunosuppression on COVID-19 comorbidities and response to preventive vaccines.
  • Investigate the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants in immunocompromised persons with HIV who may or may not have received COVID-19 vaccinations.
  • Employ novel modeling and prediction methods to evaluate the intersection of HIV and COVID-19 pandemics.
  • Assemble social, structural, and behavioral data to model social and epidemic transmission networks for intersection and overlap of the two pandemics.

Nonresponsive Areas of Interest

Note that NIAID considers applications in the following research areas to be nonresponsive and will not review them:

  • Clinical trials requiring an investigational new drug or investigational device exemption application, or assessing the safety of the intervention
  • Clinical trial planning activities for protocol development
  • Studies of mental health comorbidities, stigma, and other social behavioral determinants of health not linked to HIV-related outcomes (e.g., viral suppression, PrEP retention)

Submission and Contact Information

Apply for this initiative using either of the following funding opportunity announcements (FOAs):

The NOSI invites applications for due dates on or after September 7, 2021, and remains active for subsequent receipt dates through May 7, 2024.

Remember, applicants must include “NOT-Al-21-057” (without quotation marks) in the Agency Routing Identifier field (box 4B) of the SF 424 R&R form to be considered for this initiative. Note that you must follow all instructions in the SF 424 R&R Application Guide and the FOA through which you apply as well.

Contact Dr. Rosemary McKaig, NIAID’s scientific/research contact, for any inquiries about this initiative.