What is the goal of the NHLBI HIV/AIDS Program?

The NHLBI HIV/AIDS Program provides global leadership for research, training, and education programs designed to promote research on HIV-related heart, lung, blood, and sleep (HLBS) disorders, as well as blood-based therapies. Critical research in these areas will result in discoveries that enhance the survival and quality of life of people with HIV and may also lead to knowledge that benefits all people with heart, lung, blood, and sleep disorders.

The following NHLBI Divisions work together on the NHLBI HIV/AIDS Program.

  • The Division of Cardiovascular Sciences (DCVS) focuses on understanding the increased risk of cardiovascular disease in people with HIV and testing novel and existing cardiovascular therapies.
  • The Division of Lung Diseases (DLD) addresses HIV-associated pulmonary infections, non-infectious complications such as COPD, asthma, and pulmonary hypertension, as well as sleep disorders.
  • The Division of Blood Diseases and Resources (DBDR) focuses on HIV-associated blood abnormalities, hematopoietic cell and gene therapy for an HIV cure, and prevention of HIV transmission through blood transfusion.
  • The Center for Translation Research and Implementation Science (CTRIS) leverages late-stage T4 translation research and implementation science strategies to address barriers that impede the scale-up and application of scientifically proven interventions in community and clinical settings for the prevention, control, and treatment of heart, lung, blood, and sleep disorders in people with HIV.


  • The trans-NHLBI HIV/AIDS Program facilitates innovative research on HIV-related heart, lung, blood, and sleep disorders and the evolving challenges for people
  • The MACS/WIHS Combined Cohort Study aims to understand and reduce the impact of health problems that affect people with HIV.
  • The Randomized Trial to Prevent Vascular Events in HIV (REPRIEVE) is informing clinical approaches to prevent CVD in people with HIV.
  • The HIV/AIDS Program is studying how HIV-induced changes in the body’s microbiome, called dysbiosis, affect co-existing heart, lung, or blood disorders.
  • The Sleep Health and Circadian Biology in HIV-Related Comorbidities program studies how sleep problems affect co-existing heart, lung, and blood disorders.
  • The Beyond HAART: Innovative Approaches to Cure HIV-1 program, a collaborative effort with NIAID, supports innovative approaches to cure HIV.

Why is the NHLBI HIV/AIDS Program important?

Tremendous progress in the treatment of HIV has led to increased survival and a dramatic evolution in the understanding of the disease. Trends over the past decades reveal that overall, individuals are living longer with HIV. As a result, the challenges have now shifted from acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS—the most advanced stage of the HIV infection—to other chronic diseases, such as coronary heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), and chronic anemia. Multiple studies have shown that people with HIV have a significantly higher risk of developing heart, lung, and blood conditions and that these conditions may develop earlier in people with HIV compared to the general population.

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Because people with HIV are living longer, new research is needed to better understand the long-term effects of chronic infection, inflammation, and use of antiretroviral medications. The NHLBI HIV/AIDS Program also supports research on the effects of HIV in children and young adults. It is important to include children in research because cardiovascular risk factors are known to develop earlier in children with HIV, and children with HIV are also at risk of developing cardiomyopathy.  

How does the NHLBI HIV/AIDS Program contribute to scientific discoveries?

The NHLBI HIV/AIDS Program has funded a wide range of HIV-related heart, lung, blood, and sleep disorders research, including the following: 

View funding information for the NHLBI HIV/AIDS Program. 

The NHLBI encourages researchers to utilize existing NIH clinical/observational cohorts, biological specimens, databases (such as dbGaP), or imaging banks whenever possible for HIV-related heart, lung, blood, and sleep disorders research. Investigators interested in utilizing data and stored samples from NHLBI studies can submit a request through the NHLBI Biologic Specimen and Data Repository Information Coordinating Center (BioLINCC). In addition, the MACS/WIHS Combined Cohort Study Data Analysis and Coordinating Center handles requests for data and biospecimens related to the Combined Cohort Study.

The following are HIV/AIDS research resources that the NIH Office of AIDS Research provides. 

How is the NHLBI HIV/AIDS Program conducted?

This trans-NHLBI program funds innovative research that responds to the evolving challenges of HIV. The NHLBI HIV/AIDS Team coordinates all HIV-related research in heart, lung, blood, and sleep, including translation research and implementation science. The NHLBI held working group meetings starting in 2012 to identify research priorities. The Institute has since developed various initiatives to support research targeting HIV-related priorities.

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The NHLBI identifies key HIV-related research priorities in the areas of heart, lung, blood, and sleep science in part by convening HIV/AIDS Working Group meetings. The most recent Working Groups include:

  • The September 2019 Workshop on HIV-associated Comorbidities, Coinfections and Complications was led by the NHLBI and the NIH Office of AIDS Research (OAR) with support from 19 other NIH institutes, centers, and offices (ICOs).  The workshop included five working groups focusing on epidemiology and population science, pathogenesis and basic science, clinical research, implementation science, and syndemics (disease interactions and social, cultural, environmental, political, and economical factors that influence or exacerbate diseases or conditions), as well as a panel targeting international research. View the workshop summary.
  • The December 2015 Working Group meeting where members discussed top scientific priorities for HIV/AIDS-related heart, lung, blood, and sleep research, including studies on epidemiology, disease processes, prevention, control, and treatment of HIV-related comorbidities. View the detailed recommendations from the 2015 meeting.
  • The September 2012 Working Group meeting focused on epidemiology, disease processes, prevention, and treatment of HIV-related heart, lung, and blood diseases, and the potential use of cell-based therapies to eliminate HIV. View the detailed recommendations from the 2012 meeting.

Based on the recommendations of the HIV/AIDS Working Groups, the NHLBI has developed dedicated HIV-related requests for applications (RFAs) that highlight scientific opportunities in HIV-related heart, lung, blood, and sleep science. View funding information for NHLBI HIV/AIDS program research.

Who are the current NHLBI HIV/AIDS team members?

Contact information for NHLBI HIV/AIDS Program team members is available in the areas of heart, lung, blood, and sleep research; biostatistics; clinical research; translation research; implementation science; and grant management.

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Shimian Zou, Ph.D.
NHLBI HIV/AIDS Coordinator

DaRel Barksdale, MPH
NHLBI HIV/AIDS Scientific Program Manager

Cardiovascular Team

Sean Altekruse, D.V.M., Ph.D., M.P.H.
Scientific/Research Officer

Ahmed A.K. Hasan, M.D., Ph.D.
Medical Officer/Program Director

Fassil Ketema, M.S.
Clinical Trials Specialist/Program Officer

Renee Wong, Ph.D.
Chief, Heart Failure and Arrhythmias Branch

Lung and Sleep Team

Neil Aggarwal, M.D.
Chief, Lung Biology and Disease Branch

Josh Fessel, M.D., Ph.D.
Medical/Program Officer

Emmanuel Mongodin, Ph.D.
Program Officer

Barry Schmetter
Clinical Trials Specialist

Blood Team

Nahed El Kassar, M.D., Ph.D.
Medical/Program Officer

Simone Glynn, M.D., MSc, MPH
Chief, Blood Epidemiology and Clinical Therapeutics Branch

Catherine Levy, RN
Clinical Trials Specialist

Translation Research and Implementation Science Team

Cheryl Boyce, Ph.D.
Chief, Implementation Science Branch

Joyonna (Joy) Gamble-George, MHA, Ph.D.
Health Scientist/AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow

Makeda Williams, Ph.D., MPH
Global Health Program Director

Division of Extramural Research Activities Team

Debbie Chen
Deputy Director, Grants Management

Tony L. Creazzo, Ph.D.
Scientific Review Officer

Fatima Kamara
Grants Management Specialist

Yingying Li-Smerin, Ph.D.
Scientific Review Officer

Tawana McKeither
Chief, Cardiovascular Sciences Grants Management Branch

Megan Mitchell, MPH
Deputy Referral Officer

Lynn Rundhaugen
Grants Management Specialist

Financial Management Team

Lina Allen
NHLBI Budget Officer

William Stryker
Senior Budget Analyst