The federal government has spent $550,496 on a project that involved conducting “focus groups and in-depth interviews” with American long-haul truck drivers to learn about their sex lives in order to assess their risk of contracting HIV or other sexually transmitted infections.
-- From "U.S. Spent $550,496 on Study That Did 'Focus Groups and In-Depth Interviews' To Learn About the Sex Lives of Truck Drivers" by Adam Cassandra, CNSNews.com 7/1/10
The NIH Web pages for the grant do not say how much federal money was spent on the study, but NIH spokeswoman Charlotte Armstrong told CNSNews.com that $550,496 has been awarded for the research to date. The grant was made by the National Institute of Mental Health, a division of the NIH. The project began in September 2005 and is scheduled to end in August 2010.
“Overall, we have not found really significant numbers of STDs, and we haven’t found any HIV,” Dr. Laura Bachmann, the principal investigator on the project, told CNSNews.com. “Part of the issue is: I moved in the mean time, so that’s why it’s taking awhile to get it done.”
The research is a “preliminary type study,” Dr. Bachmann said, designed to assess the risk level and prevalence of sexual infections through focus groups and in-depth interviews with truck drivers. Screening of truckers has been “episodic,” not ongoing and continuous, she said, and she and her research team have interviewed around 300 truckers since 2005.
CNSNews.com asked Dr. Bachmann if the study was an appropriate use of taxpayer funds.
“I think that HIV and STDs are significant public health concerns, and there’s been data from, primarily, other countries, but many other countries--and then some domestic studies--that have suggested that it could be a significant problem,” she said.
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