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Why leverage Implementation Science towards Ending the HIV Epidemic in the United States?

The “know-do” gap

The Center for Disease Control estimates that 34,800 new HIV infections occurred in the United States in 2019. Over 50% of these cases occurred in EHE jurisdictions. Yet lifesaving interventions exist for HIV/AIDS. Advances in HIV prevention and treatment interventions, together with unprecedented investments to bring these interventions to scale, presents an opportunity to prevent new infections, avert HIV-related morbidity and mortality, and dramatically alter the HIV/AIDS epidemic. However, the full potential of recent scientific advances in HIV treatment and prevention have yet to be realized, and efficacious interventions have not been adequately scaled into effective programs.  Implementation science can address the gap between evidence and action by improving the uptake and effectiveness of HIV/AIDS programs, impacting health at the population level. Partnering experts in implementation science with health departments and novel research studies to improve the acceptability, reach, cost-effectiveness, efficiency and effectiveness of HIV/AIDS programs is essential to the fight to end the HIV epidemic in the United States. Implementation science also lends itself to explore questions of equity and make sure the most in-need and often disenfranchised populations are being reached with lifesaving HIV prevention and treatment interventions.

Read more:

Implementation Science Perspectives and Opportunities for HIV/AIDS Research: Integrating Science, Practice, and Policy (2013) by Glasgow et al

This 2013 article by Glasgow and colleagues provides an overview of implementation science and identifies ways in which the field’s frameworks and strategies can be used to combat the HIV epidemic. The authors highlight how IS can facilitate rapid transitions from research to practice.


Landscape of HIV Implementation Research Funded by the National Institutes of Health: A Mapping Review of Project Abstracts (2020) by Smith et al

This review maps the extent to which implementation science research has been integrated into HIV research by conducting a review of the funding portfolio of the NIH between 2013 and 2018. While this study does not include funded projects of the past few years, the article provides a good overview of the rational for incorporating IS into NIH-funded activities to End the HIV Epidemic and serves as a good baseline to compare current funding patterns to.