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The mStudy studies how drug use affects the immune system of HIV positive and negative male-identified men who have sex with men.


mSTUDY enrolls participants at two sites in Los Angeles. Since young non-white men who have sex with men are at greatest risk of HIV infection in the U.S., mSTUDY primarily enrolls Latino and African-American/black men.


  • Study associations between non-injection drug use, risk behaviors and infectious disease among MSM
  • Contribute a broad portfolio of inter-disciplinary work from immunology and basic science to epidemiology, prevention, and treatment

Current Research

  • Strong correlations between microbial communities in the rectal mucosa and systemic inflammatory cytokines, engaging in receptive anal intercourse
  • Differences in bacterial populations by drug use (specifically methamphetamine and cannabis) with inflammatory bacteria less for latter enrichment of proinflammatory bacteria with the former
  • Moving to understanding causal pathways-exploring intersection of obesityand substance use
  • Focusing on proteomewith Adam Burgener PhD (University of Manitoba) and looking at effect of these bacteria on key immune cells
  • HIV disease progression and ongoing HIV/STI transmission among HIV+ men: Role of microbiome and epigenetics in the context of substance use (specifically non-injecting stimulants and cannabis)
  • Interactions between PrEP/other biomedical preventions and substance use
  • Incidence and prevalence of morbidities(HIV-) and comorbidities(HIV+) including respiratory disease, metabolic disease, psychiatric disease, and STIs (gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis);
  • Health disparities by HIV status (e.g., inconsistent access to food, housing, and healthcare)
  • Emerging substance use patterns: uptake of opioids (including fentanyl) and new party drugs

More Information