HISTP Scholar Dr. Juan DelaCruz receives two awards

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2015 Spring Training Institute

Congratulations to Dr. Jamila Stockman on her recent R01

The ESSENCE Project: Examining Stress, Sexual Experiences, and Neighborhood Correlates of HIV Risk among African American Women

HISTP Scholar Dr. Jamila Stockman, UCSD, was awarded a five-year, NICHD-funded grant in the amount of $1,894,795 to evaluate the impact of neighborhood-level characteristics of the built and social environment on forced sex and, in turn, elucidate how forced sex and physiological factors influence behavioral mechanisms that increase the risk for HIV acquisition. Although forced sex has been shown to be associated with engaging in riskier sexual behaviors, no research has assessed how physiological changes of the stress response in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis following forced sex experiences can weaken the immune system, thereby increasing women’s susceptibility to HIV/STIs.  This study is the first to evaluate the independent and combined influence of environmental factors and physiological HPA axis alterations that may contribute to increased vulnerability to HIV.


“We will recruit 400 HIV-negative African American women at increased risk for HIV from low-income health clinics into a retrospective cohort mixed methods study in Baltimore, MD,” said Dr. Stockman. “Because the relationship between forced sex and HIV risk can be influenced by several potentially interconnected pathways, the long-term goal of our work is to inform multi-level interventions that act on those pathways, and when combined together, maximize reductions in incident HIV infections.”


Grant #R01HD077891, “The Impact of Environmental and Physiological Factors on Sexual Assault and HIV.”

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