Newswise — Rutgers School of Public Health assistant professor, Stephanie Shiau, has received a Career Development Award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health, to study the implications of opioid prescription use among older adults living with HIV. 

Shiau will use the $979,570 grant to target appropriate prevention and treatment programs to optimize health outcomes for older adults living with HIV, who are often prescribed various medications, including opioids, to treat chronic pain. Opioids, combined with other medications to treat HIV or sedatives may lead to dangerous drug interactions and poor outcomes in this population. 

To estimate the interaction between HIV and high-risk prescription opioid use on adverse outcomes and utilization, Shiau will assess the association between HIV and adverse health outcomes like falls, fractures, dementia, and health care utilization - like the use of an emergency room - among older adults living with HIV.

“My research will apply existing machine learning approaches to predict adverse health outcomes and high health care utilization among older people living with HIV based on patient profiles and opioid prescription patterns in a large administrative claims database,” says Shiau.

Shiau will also estimate drug interactions between high-risk prescription opioid use and specific antiretroviral drug classes or sedatives, like benzodiazepines, on the risk of adverse health outcomes and healthcare utilization.

“Findings from this project will generate valuable new information and tools to support clinical decisions and more precisely target prevention and treatment interventions to improve health for older people who are living with HIV who are prescribed opioids,” adds Shiau.


About the Rutgers School of Public Health

The Rutgers School of Public Health - New Jersey’s leading academic institution in public health - is committed to advancing health and wellbeing and preventing disease throughout New Jersey, the United States, and the world, by preparing students as public health leaders, scholars, and practitioners; conducting public health research and scholarship; engaging collaboratively with communities and populations; and actively advocating for policies, programs, and services through the lens of equity and social justice. Learn how the Rutgers School of Public Health is "keeping the ‘public’ in public health,” by visiting them at

Research reported in this press release was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number K01DA053157. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.