HIV Clinical Research Unit

News and Events

Congratulations to our very own USF Research staff physicians for being selected in the annual Best Doctors in America(r) survey in 2014. These USF Health doctors include Douglas Allen Holt, MD, Todd S. Wills, MD, Charurut Somboonwit, MD, Jose Montero, MD & Beata C. Casanas, DO.

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Congratulations to USF Health HIV Clinical Research Unit sub-investigator, Crystal Chapman-Lambert MS, FNP-BC, ACRN, AAHIVS, on her recent graduation from the University of South Florida's College of Nursing BS-PhD program!

Graduation Speaker

Crystal's many successes throughout her educational journey did not go unnoticed, as she was selected to speak at USF's May 4th, 2013 Commencement Ceremony addressing more than 730 graduates and other attendees.

In 2011, Crystal received the Sigma Theta Tau International/Virginia Henderson Clinical Research Grant to conduct research on HIV-infected women's knowledge, perceived susceptibility and seriousness of cervical cancer. Since joining USF Health's HIV Clinical Research Unit in 2012, she has served as a sub-investigator on 13 different studies. Click here to read more.

STD Awareness Month Banner

April is STD Awareness Month and USF's HIV Clinical Research Unit at the Florida Department of Health - Hillsborough County is taking part in raising awareness. Every April we host our annual STD Awareness Day event, which offers FREE STD and HIV testing for anyone ages 12 and up.

2nd Annual STD Awareness Day

Currently in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates:

  • Prevalence: > 110 million STDs
  • Incidence: 20 million new STDs each year (half among ages 15-24)
  • Health care costs: $16 billion/year

Early detection and treatment are key to minimizing the impact STDs can have on your health, so come out on April 29th and get tested!

For more information on STDs and testing centers, visit:

KNOW YOUR STATUS! Every December, the Florida Department of Health – Hillsborough County hosts its annual World AIDS Day event. This event offers the community FREE HIV and STD testing. Information on research opportunities at the HIV Clinical Research Unit is always available! Guest speakers engage audiences by sharing inspirational stories or providing educational information. Community partners set up booths to share information on resources and services they offer, as well as give away promotional items!

Let's talkHIV Research

Straight from the heart

In 2009, HIV Educator Tracey Dannemiller was a guest speaker at our annual World AIDS Day event. Tracey's non-profit organization, Straight from the Heart of Florida, provides free programs on HIV/AIDS education throughout the country for all types of organizations. Topics include HIV transmission, universal precautions, stigma, fear, and the importance of making healthy choices. The program is especially suitable for at-risk youths and includes inspirational personal stories. There are two goals Tracey and her team have in mind for their curriculum: to provide information that will prevent infection, and to provide hope for those affected by HIV/AIDS. Click here to watch the video of Tracey's talk or visit the Straight from the Heart of Florida Facebook page for more information.

University beat Iconic logoSince 1995, USF’s Division of Infectious Disease & International Medicine and the Florida Department of Health - Hillsborough County have been working together to find the best treatment for HIV/AIDS. In January 2009, our efforts are featured on WUSF's University Beat. View the story on our videos page.

Flexing PrideHIV research tableIn June 2008 and 2009, faculty and staff from the University of South Florida Division of Infectious Disease & International Medicine and the Department of Health – Hillsborough County joined forces to represent the USF HIV Clinical Research Unit booth at the annual St. Pete Pride event. They provided information on the comprehensive healthcare services available for the HIV/AIDS population in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties, as well as promoted research opportunities at the USF HIV Clinical Research Unit.

At the time, the USF HIV Clinical Research Unit contributed to bringing more than 20 HIV medications to market, including nucleoside/nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors, non-nucleoside/non-nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors, protease inhibitors, entry inhibitors, and integrase inhibitors. This unit continues to offer the HIV community early access to new therapies and more intensive disease management. Often, the sponsoring pharmaceutical company will provide HIV medications free of charge while patient volunteers are participating in a study. Unfunded patients are accepted as well as patients with Medicare, Medicaid, Hillsborough Healthcare, and many commercial plans.

In August 2008, the Florida Department of Health – Hillsborough County hosted visiting officials from the Florida Department of Health – Duval County to exchange knowledge. Topics ranged from designing and refining programs, infrastructure, technology, and research in order to create the most effective public health care for Florida residents.

Left to right: Mike Kilcomons, RN, BSN, MPH, Public Health Officer, Hillsborough County; Fayshonda Cooks, RN, BSN, CAPPM, Disease Control Program Administrator, Duval County; Aaron Hilliard, PhD, Assistant Director, Environmental Health and Disease Control, Duval County; and Mike Wagner, Health Center Administrator, Hillsborough County.

With similar demographics to Hillsborough, Duval County hoped to make improvements based on what has worked in Tampa Bay. One program that has worked exceptionally well is the HIV Clinical Research Unit, a long-term partnership between the USF Division of Infectious Disease & International Medicine and the Florida Department of Health – Hillsborough County. The unit operates in conjunction with the county’s Specialty Care Center and conducts HIV clinical research.

“We realize that Hillsborough’s Disease Control Program is recognized as one of the best in the state. We are here to obtain information about the clinics: HIV, STD, TB, as well as the Immunization program so that we can model our programs after their programs,” said Aaron Hilliard, PhD, assistant director of Environmental Health and Disease Control for the Health Department in Duval County. “We see there has been an increase in quality and efficiencies here. We can go back to Duval and make it happen.” Click here to read the full press release.