UAMS Researcher Gets $2.5M Grant for HIV Education

UAMS Researcher Gets $2.5M Grant for HIV Education

Latunja Sockwell, a researcher at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, has received a $2.5 million federal grant to expand HIV and hepatitis C prevention education.

The five-year grant focuses on African American men and women with a history of criminal justice involvement and substance abuse, especially opioid abuse, UAMS said in a news release. The money comes from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Sockwell is partnering with Better Community Development Inc., a licensed and nationally accredited faith-based substance abuse treatment center based in Little Rock's 12th Street neighborhood. 

Through Project HEAL, Sockwell will educate clients about how HIV and hepatitis C are spread, "with the aim of increasing the participants' use of preventive measures, increasing screening, decreasing stigma and ultimately, reducing rates of infection," according to UAMS. 

Sockwell is a researcher in the Research and Evaluation Division of the Department of Family & Preventive Medicine, which is part of the UAMS College of Medicine.

"The fastest growing population for rates of new HIV infection are among African Americans, and much of that growth is happening in the South," Sockwell said in a news release.