By Adam Cassandra
(CNSNews.com) – The federal government has spent $550,496 on a project that involved conducting â€œfocus groups and in-depth interviewsâ€ with American long-haul truck drivers to learn about their sex lives in order to assess their risk of contracting HIV or other sexually transmitted infections.
TheÂ project has failed to find any instances of HIV amongÂ the truck drivers studied.
â€œSeveral international studies have documented substantial levels of sexual risk behaviors and high rates of STI and HIV amongst long-distance truck drivers living in diverse settings including India, Bangladesh, South Africa and Thailand,â€ says the abstract for the grant published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). â€œIn the United States, while it is known that STI and HIV cases are frequently concentrated around major transportation routes, less is known regarding specific HIV/STI risk behaviors and HIV/STI prevalence amongst the over 3 million truck drivers in this country.â€
The NIH Web pages for the grant do not say how much federal moneyÂ was spentÂ on the study, but NIH spokeswoman Charlotte Armstrong told CNSNews.com that $550,496 has been awarded for the research to date.Â The grant was made by the National Institute of Mental Health, a division of the NIH.Â The project began in September 2005 and is scheduled to end in August 2010.
â€œOverall, we have not found really significant numbers of STDs, and we havenâ€™t found any HIV,â€Â Dr. Laura Bachmann, the principal investigator on the project, told CNSNews.com. â€œPart of the issue is: I moved in the mean time, so thatâ€™s why itâ€™s taking awhile to get it done.â€
Dr. Bachmann began the research when she was an assistantÂ professor of medicineÂ at the University of Alabama-Birmingham and is continuing the study in her current position as an associate professor of infectious diseases at Wake Forest University, Wake Forest, N.C.
The research is a â€œpreliminary type study,â€ Dr.Â Bachmann said, designed to assess the risk level and prevalence of sexual infections through focus groups and in-depth interviews with truck drivers. Screening of truckers has been â€œepisodic,â€ not ongoing and continuous, she said, and she and her research team have interviewed around 300 truckers since 2005.
The project was designed â€œto figure out what the level of risk was going on, and the prevalence of these different infections,â€ Dr. Bachmann told CNSNews.com.
To read more, visit: http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/68726
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