NIH/NIDCR – Basic and Translational Oral Health Research Related to HIV/AIDS (R01, R21 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

March 9, 2018 by School of Medicine Webmaster

The following description was taken from the R01 version of this FOA:

The objective of this funding opportunity announcement (FOA) is to encourage innovative basic and translational research into mechanisms of HIV transmission, persistence, pathogenesis and co-morbidities in the oral cavity. Research supported by this FOA will help address gaps in our knowledge and could encourage development of improved local and systemic therapies for HIV-related oral infections and other complications in the era of combination anti-retroviral therapy (cART).


There are nearly 37 million people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWH) around the world. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately two million new infections occurred in 2015. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that the number of infants newly infected with HIV in low and middle-income countries was at 240,000 in 2013. At least a third of these cases are due to continuous breastfeeding and viral transfer across the oral mucosa and tonsillar tissue. The mechanisms of this transfer are not fully understood.

cART has reduced the morbidity and substantially decreased the mortality associated with HIV infections. Some oral mucosal diseases that were closely associated with low CD4 count and higher plasma viral load, such as oral candidiasis and hairy leukoplakia, are less frequent in patients on cART. However, other conditions such as oral and salivary gland diseases associated with HIV and human papilloma virus (HPV) have not decreased in frequency in PLWH on cART. The reasons these conditions have not decreased in prevalence with cART has not been elucidated.

Severe forms of periodontitis and dental caries are reported in PLWH, along with changes in oral microbiota. However, it is unclear if these changes in the microbiota are responsible for oral disease severity. Some reports also indicate that PLWH develop immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS) that is manifested as Sjögren’s syndrome-like symptoms, with xerostomia and inflammation of the salivary glands.

Selected oral malignancies in PLWH are reported to be related to enhanced local and systemic inflammatory states and are closely linked to other viral conditions, such as Epstein Barr virus and Kaposi’s sarcoma herpes virus. However, the mechanisms of co-morbidity are not fully understood.

Therefore, this FOA seeks to support basic and translational research to advance our understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms of disease onset and progression in the oral cavity related to HIV/AIDS. Applications should propose statistically valid, hypothesis-driven or hypothesis-generating, evidence-based projects aimed at elucidating molecular and cellular mechanisms that facilitate HIV infection or alterations by HIV, leading to accelerated progression of various oral pathologies.

Examples of research considered within the scope of this FOA include, but are not limited to:
  • Mechanisms of mother to child oral HIV transmission.
  • Impact of oral mucosa integrity and immunity on infant susceptibility to infection.
  • Role of oral mucosa in HIV infection, persistence, progression and response to treatment.
  • Evaluation of oral and oropharyngeal samples for diagnosing and monitoring HIV status.
  • Oral mucosal defense mechanisms in the context of HIV infection and cART.
  • Interactions between oral and gastrointestinal mucosae and their microbiota in the context of HIV infection and cART.
  • Mechanisms of oral HIV/AIDS prophylactic and therapeutic vaccination.
  • Contributions of the oral microbiota to HIV infection status and co-morbid diseases.
  • Unique aspects of the development of caries and periodontitis in PLWH.
  • Mechanisms of oral co-infections and co-morbid diseases in PLWH.

Deadlines:  standard dates and standard AIDS dates apply


Filed Under: Funding Opportunities