Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center

HIV Prevention

The goal of these research projects is to reduce the risk of HIV in vulnerable populations,specifically adolescents with psychiatric disorders and those with a history of sexual abuse.

In one project, HIV-related knowledge, attitudes and behaviors are targeted through both didactic and skills-based activities. Another uses family-based HIV prevention to target adolescents with severe mental illness and their families.

Current Studies

  • A Multi-Level HIV-Prevention Strategy for High-Risk Youth (4)
    This collaborative project will develop and test a media intervention, in conjunction with group sessions, in reducing sexual risk behaviors among African American youth in four cities.  (Recently completed)
    Principal Investigator: Larry Brown, MD

  • Adolescent Medicine Trials Network for HIV/AIDS Interventions (ATN) Coordinating Center
    This Adolescent Medicine Leadership Group and the Coordinating Center will continue to provide scientific and administrative leadership for the Adolescent Medicine Trials Network for HIV/AIDS Interventions.  Dr. Brown is a member of the Behavioral Leadership Group.
    Principal Investigator: Larry Brown, MD 

  • Training in Child/Adolescent Biobehavioral HIV Research
    This program for postdoctoral psychologists and psychiatrists provides specialized training in Child & Adolescent Biobehavioral HIV research with infected and at-risk populations.
    Principal Investigator: Larry Brown, MD 

  • Integrated Mental Health Treatment and HIV Prevention for Court-Involved Youth
    The purpose of this study is to compare the relative efficacy of an integrated mental health treatment and HIV prevention program to standard-of-care mental health treatment for 200 youth receiving mental health evaluations through the RI Family Court, Juvenile Mental Health Clinic.
    Principal Investigator: Larry Brown, MD 

  • HIV Prevention for Youth With Severe Mental Illness.
    This multi-site project with Emory University and UIC will develop and test the efficacy of a family-based intervention compared to an adolescent-only intervention and a standard care condition in changing safer sex behaviors among adolescents with psychiatric disorders and assessing the impact for 36 months after the intervention.
    Principal Investigator: Larry Brown, MD 

  • A Review of Sexual Health Websites for Teens
    In this study, current sexual health websites targeted to adolescents were surveyed and coded for their educational content, credibility, usability, as well as interactivity. This research project adds to the growing literature on online health promotion and disease prevention and will help guide clinicians when referring adolescents and families to online sexual health resources. The study was completed in the fall of 2011.
    Principal Investigator: Laura Whiteley, MD

  • An Internet Based STI/HIV Intervention for Black/African American Teens
    Black/African American adolescents face increasing risks of acquiring HIV and other STIs. Simultaneously, 84% of all 8-18 year olds have Internet access in their homes and the digital divide has disappeared so that Black/African Americans have access to online resources at comparable rates to their Hispanic and Caucasian peers. The correspondence of these two trends provides for unique prevention and intervention opportunities. In this study an Internet based HIV/STI prevention intervention that utilizes Information- Motivation- Behavioral Skills Model (IMB) will be evaluated in a randomized controlled study with 800 adolescents.
    Principal Investigator: Laura Whiteley, MD

  • Preventing HIV Through Affect Management for High-Risk Early Adolescents
    This project is examining whether a small-group, after school program that talks about feelings lowers early adolescents' risk for future sexual risk behavior.
    Principal Investigator: Christopher Houck, PhD

  • Eliciting Affect in Teens in a Virtual World
    Funded by the National Institute of Mental Health [R41 MH087322- Phase I] In this study, a virtual reality party scene, including substance use and sexual risk cues, was developed for adolescents. The created virtual environment is being used in conjunction with HIV prevention interventions targeting assertive communication and affect management. The study is closed for recruitment.
    Principal Investigator: Wendy Hadley, PhD

  • HIV Prevention in the Family Court (funded by the National Institute of Drug Abuse)
    Project RAP is testing the effect of a family-based HIV prevention intervention on reducing marijuana use and increasing safer sex behaviors among substance abusing juvenile offenders.  The project is enrolling 60 families with court-involved juveniles who are actively using marijuana.
    Principal Investigator: Marina Tolou-Shams, PhD

  • Court Clinic Coding Project (unfunded)
    This project is a retrospective study examining demographic, psychosocial and psychiatric factors related to recidivism and other risk behaviors (e.g., substance use, sexual risk, self-injury) among juveniles referred for court-ordered mental health evaluations.
    Principal Investigator: Marina Tolou-Shams, PhD

  • Dating Violence and HIV Prevention in Girls: Adapting Mental Health Interventions
    The goal of this study is to develop and test a group-based, dating violence and HIV prevention program entitled Date SMART.  Date SMART is a targeted prevention program, enrolling female high school students (ages 15-17) who are identified as having a history of dating violence exposure (perpetration and/or victimization) during a school-based screening procedure. For more information about the Date SMART study, call 401-793-8064.
    Principal Investigator: Christie Rizzo,PhD