Substance Use Scientific Working Group


Join Us!


Plan to attend our HIV workshop! Check back for 2022 scheduled workshops.


About the Scientific Working Group


Substance use is a well-established risk factor for HIV transmission. Furthermore, for people living with HIV, substance use and addiction can hasten HIV progression and its consequences. Despite its significant impact on HIV, the intersection of substance use and HIV prevention and treatment has been an underdeveloped research area.

We established the SU-SWG to fill this gap in research. The SU-SWG consists of Texas D-CFAR and affiliate members, including basic science, clinical, public health and health services researchers, with the expertise needed to address a wide range of areas relevant to research in the overlapping epidemics of substance use and HIV.

Substance Use Scientific Working Group  Services

  • Information about ongoing research and external funding research opportunities on the intersection of substance use and HIV
  • Pilot grant funding opportunities through the Developmental Core
  • Monthly meetings to identify areas of research for the intersection between HIV and substance use
  • Invited speakers with expertise in HIV and substance use
  • Annual Texas D-CFAR Conference sessions dedicated to HIV and substance use

Featured Funding Opportunities


Seeking research into syringe services programs and HIV care

  • RFA-DA-23-006: Implementing Comprehensive HIV services in Syringe Service Program (SSP) Settings (R01 - Clinical Trial Required) — Applications due Aug. 11, 2022
  • RFA-DA-23-007: Implementing Comprehensive HIV services in Syringe Service Program (SSP) Settings (R34 - Clinical Trial Required) — Applications due Aug. 11, 2022

These funding opportunity announcements support development and testing of models that demonstrate how syringe services programs (SSPs) can support expanded implementation of evidence-based HIV services. This research should address the needs and resources of SSP settings (e.g., standalone centers, locations affiliated with community-based organizations or AIDS service organizations, federally qualified health centers, and health department–based locations) and delivery models (e.g., fixed-site and mobile) that partner in the research, as well as what is feasible given the local or regional organization of substance use and HIV services. SSPs have a history of strong ties to their communities and involvement of people who inject drugs (PWID) and allies. Each application should demonstrate substantive involvement of the community in all phases of the proposed project and establish a community advisory board or another linkage to the community where one does not currently exist.

Funding for time-sensitive priority research  

  • PAR-22-027: Mechanism for Time-Sensitive Drug Abuse Research (R21—Clinical Trial Optional) — Applications due May 3, 2022

This funding opportunity will support pilot, feasibility, or exploratory research in priority areas in substance use epidemiology, prevention, and health services. To be responsive to this announcement, it should be clear that the knowledge gained from the proposed study is time-sensitive and that an expedited review and funding are required in order for the scientific question to be answered (i.e., an imminent policy change will not allow for a standard review and funding timeline).

Seeking research into mobile DNA elements, addictive substances, and HIV

RFA-DA-23-003: Investigating Transposable Elements and Mobile DNA as Targets of Integration for Establishing HIV Reservoirs in the Brain (R61/R33 - Clinical Trial Optional) — Applications due Aug. 3, 2022

The purpose of this funding opportunity is to support research examining the potential contributions of mobile DNA elements and addictive substances in HIV integration, reservoir formation, and maintenance in the brain. NIDA is specifically interested in studies exploring the contributions of molecular, genetic, and epigenetic factors in HIV integration, reservoir formation and maintenance in microglia and/or the brain in the context of addiction.

Other funding opportunities

  • RFA-DA-23-001: Exploiting in Vivo or in Situ Imaging Approaches to Understand HIV-relevant Processes in The Context of Substance Use Disorders (R61/R33 Clinical Trials Optional) — Applications due Aug. 11, 2022
  • RFA-DA-22-010: Advancing technologies to improve delivery of pharmacological, gene editing, and other cargoes for HIV and SUD mechanistic or therapeutic research (R01 - Clinical Trial Optional) — Applications due Oct. 25, 2022
  • NOT-DA-21-018: Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): Long-Term Neurocognitive Consequences of COVID-19 in Individuals Living with HIV and Substance Use Disorders
  • NOT-DA-21-019: Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): Telehealth Strategies for Individuals with HIV and Substance Use Disorders
  • NOT-DA-21-030: Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): Advancing HIV/AIDS Research through Computational Neuroscience

View all NIDA funding opportunities at the intersection of HIV and substance use.


Working Group Leadership


View the TX-CFAR Investigator Profiles for information on each leadership member. 


Item Term
Co-Director: Joy Schmitz, Ph.D.

Item Definition

Professor at McGovern Medical School, UTHealth



Item Term
Co-Director: Diane Santa Maria, DrPH, MSN, RN, PHNA-BC, FSAHM, FAAN

Item Definition

Associate Professor at Cizik School of Nursing, UTHealth