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New Research Study by Dr. Jeffrey Parsons and Dr. Jonathan Rendina Discussed in Metrosource Magazine

Dr. Jeffrey T. Parsons, Distinguished Professor and Director at Hunter’s Center for HIV/ AIDS Educational Studies and Training (CHEST), and Dr. Jonathon Rendina, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Director of Quantitative Methods at CHEST, will soon be recruiting 8,000 sexually active, HIV-negative gay and bisexual men online from across the United States (including Puerto Rico) to take part in a research study, the goal of which will be to identify the predictors of HIV seroconversion in a vulnerable population: MSMs — men who have sex with men. “We want all recruitment efforts to be focused online because that way we know the entire sample has access in common, and that commonality ensures they will be able to participate in the project,” Dr. Parsons told Metrosource Magazine.

Funded by a $2.9 million grant from the National Institute on Allergies and Infectious Diseases and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the study is called UNITE, which stands for Understanding New Infections Through Targeted Epidemiology.  The study will track why certain populations — young MSMs and MSMs of color — continue to show increasing HIV rates. Parsons, who is leading the research with Dr. Rendina, says surveying participants from a distance rather than face-to-face will help to prevent behavior that influences the results. The study will target men in both urban and rural areas with a higher HIV-positive population. “As a member of the community and having done this work for 20 years, this is my passion,” Parsons says in summary. “For me it’s about trying to make a difference, trying to use my skills and abilities as a psychologist to have an impact on the epidemic.”

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