The National Institute of Mental Health has renewed its support for UCLA’s collaborative Center for HIV Identification, Prevention and Treatment Services, or CHIPTS, with a five-year, $7.5 million grant.

The center, made up of leading scientists from UCLA, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, the Friends Research Institute and the RAND Corp., has worked for 25 years to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic both locally and globally through scientific research and treatments, network building and collaborations with community and agency partners.

The new federal funding will support a research agenda aimed at reducing HIV transmission across Southern California, the nation and the world — in line with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s initiative to end the epidemic in the United States by 2030.

The grant program will be directed by Steven Shoptaw, a professor of family medicine and of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, where he is also vice chair of research in family medicine.

“This award is a testament to the unwavering commitment of our scientists and community partners,” Shoptaw said. “With this funding, we look forward to pursuing innovative, high-impact approaches to address the HIV epidemic and the conditions that drive it.”

Currently, approximately 38 million people globally and 1.2 million nationally are living with HIV, with about 35,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Under the new grant, CHIPTS will guide a regional strategy for Southern California that aligns with the HHS national Ending the HIV Epidemic plan. The center will support research aimed at developing and improving multifaceted approaches to suppressing the virus in people already infected with HIV and preventing infections among at-risk populations, with a particular focus on those with mental health and substance use disorders and those who face social and structural barriers in accessing health care.

In these efforts, CHIPTS will work closely with scientific, community and public health partners while promoting efforts to improve diversity, equity and inclusion among the next generation of HIV investigators.

“The center plays a critical role in advancing HIV prevention science that innovates in combination prevention strategies and shifts policy to influence health outcomes,” said CHIPTS co-director Dr. Raphael Landovitz, a professor of medicine at the Geffen School. “We are extremely grateful for the opportunity to continue and expand our work in this next cycle.”

The National Institute of Mental Health is part of the National Institutes of Health.