1. CHVI Team in Social and Behavioral Research on HIV Vaccines (Project period: April 1, 2012 – March 31, 2017):

University of Toronto, Canada, in partnership with the Humsafar Trust, Mumbai, and C-SHaRP, Chennai, is implementing a five-year multi-country research project titled ‘CHVI Team in Social and Behavioral Research on HIV Vaccines’. The CHVI Team in Social and Behavioral Research on HIV vaccines launches an expert interdisciplinary social science team in Canada, India and South Africa that will apply rigorous and innovative social research to accelerate the development and dissemination of safe, effective and accessible HIV vaccines. The Team research program addresses key challenges in ensuring fully informed consent among HIV vaccine trial participants; and in engaging the preferences and concerns of vulnerable community end users throughout HIV vaccine development in order to bridge the science-to-practice gap.

International Principal Investigator (PI): Peter A Newman, Ph.D.

India PI:  Venkatesan Chakrapani, M.D.
2. Community Engagement in HIV Vaccine Research: Advancing HIV Vaccine Trial Preparedness among Men who have Sex with Men in India (Project period: April 1, 2010 – March 31, 2013):

This is a collaborative research project of University of Toronto, the Humsafar Trust and C-SHaRP.  The goal is to prepare communities of MSM for informed decision-making and meaningful involvement in HIV vaccine research. Specific objectives: 1) to explore and assess HIV vaccine and clinical trial knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and local vaccination cultures among MSM in Chennai and Mumbai; 2) To assess willingness to participate (WTP) in HIV vaccine trials and determinants of WTP.

International Principal Investigator (PI): Peter A Newman, Ph.D.
India PI: Venkatesan Chakrapani, M.D.

1. Multi-level intervention among HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM) in India: A Pilot Study (Project period: October 1, 2014 – September 30, 2016):

This is a collaborative research project of  C-SHaRP, National Institute of Epidemiology (NIE) and Yale university. It is funded by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

This study seeks to develop, implement, and assess an innovative multi-level intervention for HIV-positive MSM in India to promote health and safer sex practices, and to promote acceptance of HIV-positive MSM within MSM communities. Our intervention is guided by  Social-Personal Model, which states that HIV risk is influenced by individual, interpersonal, and community level factors.

In the first phase, we conducted randomized trial of a 4-session individual-level intervention promoting safer sex, interpersonal communication skills, disclosure decision-making, social support and relationship building. Participants completed assessment at 3 (midline) and 6 (endline) months after the baseline.

In the second phase,  we will implement a community-level intervention resulting in 4 groups (control, individual, control + community, individual + community) to improve social connections within the MSM community and to reduce stigma against HIV-positive MSM.

Key outcome measures include: sexual risk (unprotected anal and vaginal sex) and perceived stigma. Feasibility, acceptability, and fidelity will be evaluated using a comprehensive process evaluation.

India Principal Investigator (PI):
Dr Venkatesan Chakrapani, M.D.,
Centre for Sexuality and Health Research and Policy (C-SHaRP), Chennai

India Co-Investigator (Co-PI):
Dr. Thilakavathi Subramanian, Ph.D.,
National Institute of Epidemiology (NIE), Chennai

US Co-Investigator (Co-PI):
Dr. Trace Kershaw,
Yale University

2. Modelling the Impact of Stigma on Depression and Sexual Risk Behaviours of Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) and Hijras/Transgender (TG) women in India: Implications for HIV and Sexual Health Programs (Project period: February 1, 2011 – Jan 31, 2013):

This is a collaborative research project of the Humsafar Trust, Madras Christian College (MCC) and C-SHaRP.  The study uses a sequential mixed methods explanatory design: First, quantitative phase: Regression analyses and Structural equation modeling to empirically validate theoretical predictions regarding the relationships between HIV-related stigma, sexual stigma and transgender identity-related stigma), and depression and sexual risk behaviours; Second, qualitative phase: Analyses will focus on contextualized understanding of the relationships between stigma, depression and sexual risk behaviours.

Principal Investigator (PI): Venkatesan Chakrapani, M.D.
Co-Investigator (PI): Miriam Samuel, HoD, Department of Social Work, MCC

Qualitative Impact Assessment of Pehchan Programme
This qualitative study was commissioned by India HIV/AIDS Alliance. This study assessed the impact of an Alliance-led long-term GFATM-supported programme (among men who have sex with men and transgender people) in India.
Getting a Job and Keeping it: Issues faced by Thirunangai (Transgender people) and Kothis in Tamil Nadu in getting and retaining employment. A Rapid Assessment using Mixed Methods

This mixed methods study was commissioned by Tamil Nadu AIDS Initiative – Voluntary Health Services (TAI-VHS). It aimed to explore and understand the perspectives and experiences of trans people and kothis in getting and retaining jobs.

Feminization Practices among Transgender and Hijra Communities in India

This qualitative study provided necessary information on the current situation of access to and use of safe and quality feminisation procedures for male-to-female transgender people. The study was commissioned by India HIV/AIDS Alliance.

Singh, Y., Aher, A., Shaikh, S., Mehta, S., Robertson, J., & Chakrapani, V. (2014). Gender Transition Services for Hijras and Other Male-to-Female Transgender People in India: Availability and Barriers to Access and Use. International Journal of Transgenderism, 15(1), 1-15. doi:10.1080/15532739.2014.890559

HIV-related stigma research review 

Along with Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), C-SHaRP completed a HIV-stigma research literature review project funded by UNDP India.

Bharat, S., & Chakrapani, V. (June 2014). Research Compendium - HIV-related Stigma Research in India: Current Knowledge, Gaps and Recommendations. Delhi: UNDP India.

Mapping and size estimation of trans populations in India
National Institute of Epidemiology (NIE) and C-SHaRP co-led a study on mapping and size estimation of hijra/transgender populations in 17 states in India. The study implementing partner was IMRB. This project was commissioned by UNDP India to NIE. Pior to this project, NIE and C-SHaRP developed methodological options for conducting mapping and size estimation study:
Family acceptance among MSM and transgender people in India
This qualitative study was commissioned by Family Planning Association of India (FPA India). It aimed to better understand the reasons behind acceptance and non-acceptance of same-sex attracted and transgender youth by their family members, and to design interventions to promote family acceptance.