Rapid Response Research Awards on the MPX-HIV Interface Recipients

The Rapid Response Research Awards on on the MPX-HIV Interface provides pilot funds to early stage and new HIV/AIDS investigators to collect preliminary data that will explore the scientific relationships between the MPX and HIV epidemics with a focus on Washington, DC. Below are the award recipients.

2022: Award Recipients

Benjamin Liu

Benjamin Liu, MBBS, PhD, D(ABMM), MB(ASCP)

TRIMing MPXV & HIV Infection by Peptides Derived from an Innate Immune Modulator

A rapidly spreading monkeypox outbreak has evolved into a global health emergency. Around 40% of the cases have HIV co-infection. Men who have sex with men represent a high-risk population for both monkeypox virus (MPXV) and HIV infection. We have identified two peptides derived from a human protein that has activity to fight off a variety of viruses. In this study, we will test whether and how these peptides can fight off MPXV and HIV infection. These peptides have a potential to be developed into new antiviral therapeutics against both viruses.


Anne Monroe, MD, MSPH

Anne Monroe, MD, MSPH

Human Papillomavirus Infection as a Risk Factor for Severe Monkeypox Proctitis among People with HIV

Based on data from the current MPX outbreak, it is apparent that MPX virus is being transmitted primarily through sexual encounters. Coinfection with various STIs such as syphilis, Chlamydia, and gonorrhea has been documented in patients diagnosed with MPX. However, no studies have yet to examine the prevalence of HPV infection in persons diagnosed with MPX during the current global outbreak. Given that PWH are at an increased risk for HPV infection and anal cancer, it is important to understand the potential intersection between HPV infection and MPX anorectal disease.

This study proposes conducting a case-control study examining the association between HPV infection and MPX proctitis. Among a population of PWH, this study will compare cases who experienced proctitis during the course of their MPX infection to controls who did not experience proctitis during their MPX infection. Through anal swabs conducted on PWH who have recovered from their MPX symptoms, we will determine which individuals have HPV infection and anal dysplasia. This study will then compare the prevalence of HPV infection and anal dysplasia between our cases and controls to determine if there is any association between HPV and MPX proctitis. If we determine that HPV is associated with proctitis, our work may have implications for the role of HPV vaccine in preventing MPX proctitis.