HIV and Mental Health Scientific Working Group Vilma Gabbay, PhD Director (Einstein)Associate Professor and Director of Research, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences; Co-Director of the Psychiatry Research Institute at Montefiore Einstein firstname.lastname@example.org 718.839.7549 Anjali Sharma, MD Director (Einstein)Associate Professor of Medicine email@example.com 718.882.2714 The newly formed HIV and Mental Health Scientific Working Group (SWG) aims to facilitate multi-disciplinary investigations in the field of HIV and mental health comorbidity, a major public health concern, contributing to increased HIV transmission, and an undeveloped area of research in our ERC-CFAR. While dramatic survival gains have been achieved for people with HIV (PWH) with the widespread use of potent antiretroviral therapy (ART), high comorbidity with mental health conditions such as depression has posed a major barrier to achieving the 90-90-90 goal and “bending the curve.” National data estimate that comorbid mental health conditions impact the majority of PWH, leading to increased HIV transmission risk, reduced retention in care, and poorer HIV outcomes. Alarmingly, by 2030, the top two leading causes of disease burden globally are projected to be HIV and depressive disorders. Despite these data, there has been sparse research into the mechanisms underlying this comorbidity. This SWG addresses this major gap in HIV research with the overall mission of seeding and catalyzing research that impacts mental health in PWH to reduce HIV transmission and acquisition, and to improve retention in care and overall outcomes. Toward this goal, this SWG brings together with community members >30 non-HIV and HIV researchers with diverse expertise in immunology, neuroimaging, neurology, cognitive neuroscience, epidemiology, health disparities, and addiction, recruited from multiple New York City academic institutions. Specific Aims: To bring together outstanding HIV and non-HIV investigators from multidisciplinary research areas and multiple NYC Institutions to foster collaborations in the field of mental health in PWH, focusing on psychiatric neuroimaging, neuroinflammation, and implementation science. To generate new interdisciplinary collaborations among established investigators (EI) and Early Stage Investigators (ESI) who work on HIV research but have not previously collaborated, as well as with investigators who are new to HIV research. To identify and seek funding for research projects developed through collaborations and ideas formed in the SWG to increase our understanding of the underlying mechanisms contributing to the high burden of mental health conditions among PWH, including depression, anxiety, cognition, and pain. Comorbid mental health conditions in PWH are a major public health concern and an obstacle to stopping the HIV epidemic partly due to increased transmission risk and decreased retention in care. To date, this topic has attracted limited research. This SWG aims to fill this research gap and facilitate research into the mechanisms underlying this comorbidity and how best to treat it. Such research is essential for ending the HIV epidemic.