This Program Announcement expires three years from the release date, 
unless reissued.


Release Date:  September 20, 2001

PA NUMBER:  PA-01-139 

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
National Institute of Mental Health
National Institute of Nursing Research
National Institute on Drug Abuse



The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), the 
National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), the National Institute of 
Mental Health (NIMH), and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) invite 
qualified researchers to submit applications to study the creation, 
dissemination and consumption of messages created to deter the spread of HIV. 
Well into this, the third decade of HIV/AIDS, prevention messages designed and 
presented through mainstream media have had limited success in deterring the 
spread of the disease in many populations, both in the U.S. and in other 
nations.  This announcement invites research that will improve our 
understanding of how communication can best facilitate HIV prevention efforts. 

It encourages studies that examine the interrelationships among various 
attributes of communication about HIV risk and prevention, and the 
consequences of communication for individuals, groups, and populations.  It 
also seeks research that examines how people consume, understand, retain, and 
use or act upon information about HIV risk and prevention.

The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health promotion 
and disease prevention objectives of “Healthy People 2010,” a PHS-led national 
activity for setting priority areas.  This Program Announcement (PA) is 
related to one or more of the priority areas.  Potential applicants may obtain 
“Healthy People 2010” at 


Applications may be submitted by domestic and foreign, for-profit and non-
profit organizations, public and private, such as universities, colleges, 
hospitals, laboratories, and units of State and local governments, and 
eligible agencies of the Federal government. Faith-based organizations are 
eligible to apply for these grants.  Racial/ethnic minority individuals, 
women, and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply as Principal 


This PA will use the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Research Project 
Grant (R01) award mechanism.  Responsibility for the planning, direction, and 
execution of the proposed project will be solely that of the applicant. 

Specific application instructions have been modified to reflect "MODULAR 
GRANT" and "JUST-IN-TIME" streamlining efforts that have been adopted by the 
NIH for applications requesting up to $250,000 per year.  Complete and 
detailed instructions and information on Modular Grant applications have been 
incorporated into the PHS 398 (rev. 5/2001).  Additional information on 
Modular Grants can be found at 

Applicants requesting more than $250,000 in any year must follow the 
instructions for detailed budgets in the PHS 398 (rev. 5/2001)



Until such time as vaccines and cures for infection with the HIV virus are a 
practical reality, prevention of infection must rely upon individuals 
practicing protective behavior. Even with a vaccine, protective behavior will 
continue to be important.  Behaviors that reduce the risk of HIV infection or 
transmission -- such as using condoms, avoiding sexual intercourse with 
infected individuals, and avoiding drug use that may lead to unsafe sexual 
practices or needle sharing -- are influenced by a complex set of 
determinants.  These include personal factors such as demographic and 
psychological variables (e.g., attitudes, knowledge, and abilities), 
interpersonal processes, as well as more distal factors characterizing the 
contexts in which individuals’ and couples’ behaviors are carried out.  Ever 
since HIV infection was recognized as a serious public health threat, public 
health professionals have used a variety of communication approaches to inform 
about HIV risk and prevention, and to encourage behavior change that would 
reduce the spread of infection in the population. 

It is by now well recognized that informing people about HIV risk and 
prevention is not sufficient to induce behavior change.  However, most public 
health professionals agree that providing information is a necessary part of 
prevention efforts and, furthermore, that prevention messages can help to 
change attitudes and motivations as well as to inform.  Various theories in 
the prevention sciences address the “readiness” of individuals to obtain and 
act upon information relating to HIV prevention.  Individuals’ own 
circumstances and attributes as well as their social contexts influence the 
information they seek out, or are ready to receive, and their readiness for 
behavioral change.  

Although communication has been and remains a critical component of HIV 
prevention efforts, our understanding of the factors that make such activities 
more or less successful remains incomplete.  Research in other areas of 
prevention science, such as sunscreen use for skin cancer prevention and 
smoking cessation, has demonstrated that the ways in which information is 
presented have a great influence on how it is perceived and whether it is 
acted upon.  However, research on the effective design, delivery, and 
reception of messages is scattered across a wide number of disciplines.  
Relatively little research has examined how communication concerning HIV 
prevention and risk contributes to informing and instigating behavior change 
in various populations.

In this initiative, we define communication as the process by which 
individuals, agencies, or organizations create and share information with one 
another.  This announcement focuses on a specific subset of communication 
activities, namely, the creation and dissemination of messages concerning HIV 
risk and prevention within a public health context.  These activities may 
include the development of written materials, curricula for school health 
education programs or intervention programs, public service announcements, and 
one-on-one clinical counseling.  They would not include communication between 
sexual partners; however, such communication plays an important role in HIV 
prevention and might well be affected by the types of public health 
communication activities that are the focus of the announcement.  

Research Scope

This announcement invites research on communication related to HIV risk and 
prevention.  It encourages studies that examine the interrelationship between 
various attributes of communication (e.g., purpose, content, source, 
complexity) and the consequences of communication for individuals, groups, and 
populations.  It also seeks research that examines how HIV-infected 
individuals and individuals at risk of HIV infection consume, understand, 
retain, and use or act on information about HIV risk and prevention provided 
through various communication channels.  Invited research is intended to 
advance our understanding of how public health communication related to HIV 
risk and prevention works, and under what circumstances it is most effective 
in informing and/or instigating behavior change.

Proposed studies must be based in sound theoretical models relating to 
communication and HIV risk and prevention.  Research may focus on specific 
attributes of communication messages or on strategies to enhance the 
effectiveness of communication with particular populations such as injection 
drug users.  Substantively, the research may address communication relevant to 
any behavioral prevention strategy that reduces HIV risk, including 
abstinence, condom use, partner selection, the utilization of HIV testing, 
other relevant behaviors, or a combination of these.  The proposed research 
must have clear implications for the design and/or implementation of public 
health communication strategies.  Issues that might be addressed include, but 
are not limited to, the following:

The Message:

o Specificity:  Are messages more effective if they focus on general concepts 
(e.g., use of condoms protects against HIV) or on specific information (e.g., 
consistent and correct use of condoms reduces the risk of HIV infection by nn 
percent?)  How does context – that is, the goal, format, channels or audience 
of the communication  -- influence effectiveness?  Does this differ when 
talking about sexual versus drug use behaviors associated with HIV?

o Framing:  Is the message presented in terms of risk reduction or health 
promotion?  Under which conditions and for which people or identifiable groups 
of people is it more effective to emphasize the benefits of performing or the 
costs of not performing the advocated behavior?

o Complexity/Hierarchy:  How simple or complex can prevention messages be?  
Should messages focus on a single unitary idea or can they include multiple 
ideas?  Do hierarchical messages work?  Can people process and act on messages 
which present differing levels or degrees of protection as options?  Under 
what circumstances are such messages successful?  How do length and complexity 
interact?  Does this interaction increase the risk of a message “misfiring” in 
a negative fashion?

o Channel:  Pamphlets, billboards, Public Service Announcements, small group 
instruction, “edutainment,” organized peer communication, TV news, web pages. 
How well do various channels reach different audiences and how do different 
populations respond to various channels?  How do the substance, audience, and 
purpose of HIV-related communication interact with channel?

o Format:  Are messages attended to differentially as a function of their 
physical attractiveness, or design?  Are messages in a “home language” 
attended to differently from messages in English?  How do these variables 
interact with various demographic factors such as immigrant status, 
race/ethnicity, gender, and age?

o Duration and other dimensions of timing, including length of message, 
repetition and timing between repeated exposures, overall duration of exposure 
to a message:  How do these dimensions relate to message effect?  What are the 
advantages and disadvantages of brief messages compared to extended ones?  For 
example, are brief messages easier to retain than longer ones?  Do they 
provide information equally well?

o Threat Appeals:  Under which conditions are they persuasive?  What is the 
impact of HIV-related threat appeals on feelings about sex (e.g., is it 
possible to scare people about the disease without making them afraid of sex)? 
Does explaining the connection between drug use and HIV infection scare people 
out of drug using behaviors associated with HIV infection?

The Origin and Destination:

o Targeted and Tailored Communications:  Are messages more likely to be heard 
and acted upon if their personal relevance is increased by matching their 
content to group characteristics (targeting) or to individuals’ 
characteristics (tailoring)?  Does this effect vary by race, ethnicity, 
cultural group, age, gender, or other demographic markers?

o Origin:  Messages may be presented by a range of people.  Some options that 
have been used are authorities on the subject, celebrities, peers, or 
individuals who are suffering from the negative consequences of behavior 
choices.  What influences the impact of these different messengers?  Is this 
different for different formats?  Or, is effect different for different people 
or at different ages/developmental stages?  If so, how?

o Destination:  How do individuals at varying stages of development and 
understanding search for, receive, integrate, react to, and act upon messages 
presented in different manners?  What is the importance of prior knowledge or 
experience upon this?


It is the policy of the NIH that women and members of minority groups and 
their sub-populations must be included in all NIH-supported biomedical and 
behavioral research projects involving human subjects, unless a clear and 
compelling rationale and justification are provided indicating that inclusion 
is inappropriate with respect to the health of the subjects or the purpose of 
the research.  This policy results from the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 
(Section 492B of Public Law 103-43). 

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the 
UPDATED “NIH Guidelines for Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in 
Clinical Research,” published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts on 
August 2, 2000 
A complete copy of the updated Guidelines is available at  The 
revisions relate to NIH-defined Phase III clinical trials and require:  a) all 
applications or proposals and/or protocols to provide a description of plans 
to conduct analyses, as appropriate, to address differences by sex/gender 
and/or racial/ethnic groups, including subgroups if applicable; and b) all 
investigators to report accrual, and to conduct and report analyses, as 
appropriate, by sex/gender and/or racial/ethnic group differences.


It is the policy of NIH that children (i.e., individuals under the age of 21) 
must be included in all human subjects research, conducted or supported by the 
NIH, unless there are scientific and ethical reasons not to include them.  
This policy applies to all initial (Type 1) applications submitted for receipt 
dates after October 1, 1998.

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the 
“NIH Policy and Guidelines on the Inclusion of Children as Participants in 
Research Involving Human Subjects,” published in the NIH Guide for Grants and 
Contracts, March 6, 1998, and available on the Internet at: 

Investigators also may obtain copies of these policies from the program staff 
listed under INQUIRIES.  Program staff may also provide additional relevant 
information concerning the policy.


All applications and proposals for NIH funding must be self-contained within 
specified page limitations.  Unless otherwise specified in an NIH 
solicitation, Internet addresses (URLs) should not be used to provide 
information necessary to the review because reviewers are under no obligation 
to view the Internet sites.  Reviewers are cautioned that their anonymity may 
be compromised when they directly access an Internet site.


NIH policy requires education on the protection of human subject participants 
for all investigators submitting NIH proposals for research involving human 
subjects.  This policy announcement is found in the NIH Guide for Grants and 
Contracts Announcement dated June 5, 2000, at:


The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-110 has been revised to 
provide public access to research data through the Freedom of Information Act 
(FOIA) under some circumstances. Data that are (1) first produced in a project 
that is supported in whole or in part with Federal funds and (2) cited 
publicly and officially by a Federal agency in support of an action that has 
the force and effect of law (i.e., a regulation) may be accessed through FOIA. 
It is important for applicants to understand the basic scope of this 
amendment. NIH has provided guidance at: 

Applicants may wish to place data collected under this RFA (PA) in a public 
archive, which can provide protections for the data and manage the 
distribution for an indefinite period of time.  If so, the application should 
include a description of the archiving plan in the study design and include 
information about this in the budget justification section of the application. 
In addition, applicants should think about how to structure informed consent 
statements and other human subjects procedures given the potential for wider 
use of data collected under this award.


The PHS 398 research grant application instructions and forms (rev. 5/2001) at are to be used in 
applying for these grants.  This version of the PHS 398 is available in an 
interactive, searchable PDF format. Although applicants are strongly 
encouraged to begin using the 5/2001 revision of the PHS 398 as soon as 
possible, the NIH will continue to accept applications prepared using the 
4/1998 revision until January 9, 2002.  Beginning January 10, 2002, however, 
the NIH will return applications that are not submitted on the 5/2001 version. 
For further assistance contact GrantsInfo, Telephone 301-710-0267, E-mail:

Applicants planning to submit an investigator-initiated new (type 1), 
competing continuation (type 2), competing supplement, or any amended/revised 
version of the preceding grant application types requesting $500,000 or more 
in direct costs for any year are advised that he or she must contact the 
Institute or Center (IC) program staff before submitting the application, 
i.e., as plans for the study are being developed.  Furthermore, the 
application must obtain agreement from the IC staff that the IC will accept 
the application for consideration for award.  Finally, the applicant must 
identify, in a cover letter sent with the application, the staff member and 
Institute or Center who agreed to accept assignment of the application.  

This policy requires an applicant to obtain agreement for acceptance of both 
any such application and any such subsequent amendment.  Refer to the NIH 
Guide for Grants and Contracts, March 20, 1998 at


The modular grant concept establishes specific modules in which direct costs 
may be requested as well as a maximum level for requested budgets. Only 
limited budgetary information is required under this approach.  The 
just-in-time concept allows applicants to submit certain information only when 
there is a possibility for an award. It is anticipated that these changes will 
reduce the administrative burden for the applicants, reviewers and NIH staff. 
 The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 5/2001) at is to be used in 
applying for these grants, with modular budget instructions provided in 
Section C of the application instructions.  Applicants are permitted, however, 
to use the 4/1998 revision of the PHS 398 for scheduled application receipt 
dates until January 9, 2002.  If you are preparing an application using the 
4/1998 version, please refer to the step-by-step instructions for Modular 
Grants available at 
Additional information about Modular Grants is also available on this site.

Submission Instructions

The title and number of the program announcement must be typed on line 2 of 
the face page of the application form and the YES box must be marked.

Submit a signed, typewritten original of the application, including the 
Checklist, and five signed photocopies in one package to:

BETHESDA, MD  20892-7710
BETHESDA, MD  20817 (for express/courier service)


Applications will be assigned on the basis of established PHS referral 
guidelines.  Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit 
by an appropriate scientific review group convened in accordance with the 
standard NIH peer review procedures.  As part of the initial merit review, all 
applications will receive a written critique and undergo a process in which 
only those applications deemed to have the highest scientific merit, generally 
the top half of applications under review, will be discussed, assigned a 
priority score, and receive a second level review by the appropriate national 
advisory council or board.

Review Criteria

The goals of NIH-supported research are to advance our understanding of 
biological systems, improve the control of disease, and enhance health.  In 
the written comments, reviewers will be asked to discuss the following aspects 
of the application in order to judge the likelihood that the proposed research 
will have a substantial impact on the pursuit of these goals.  Each of these 
criteria will be addressed and considered in assigning the overall score, 
weighting them as appropriate for each application.  Note that the application 
does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major 
scientific impact and thus deserve a high priority score.  For example, an 
investigator may propose to carry out important work that by its nature is not 
innovative but is essential to move a field forward.

1) Significance:  Does this study address an important problem?  If the aims 
of the application are achieved, how will scientific knowledge be advanced?  
What will be the effect of these studies on the concepts or methods that drive 
this field?

(2) Approach:  Are the conceptual framework, design, methods, and analyses 
adequately developed, well integrated, and appropriate to the aims of the 
project?  Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider 
alternative tactics?

(3) Innovation:  Does the project employ novel concepts, approaches or 
methods?  Are the aims original and innovative?  Does the project challenge 
existing paradigms or develop new methodologies or technologies?

(4) Investigator:  Is the investigator appropriately trained and well suited 
to carry out this work?  Is the work proposed appropriate to the experience 
level of the Principal Investigator and other researchers (if any)?

(5) Environment:  Does the scientific environment in which the work will be 
done contribute to the probability of success?  Do the proposed experiments 
take advantage of unique features of the scientific environment or employ 
useful collaborative arrangements?  Is there evidence of institutional 

In addition to the above criteria, in accordance with NIH policy, all 
applications will also be reviewed with respect to the following:

o The adequacy of plans to include both genders, minorities and their 
subgroups, and children as appropriate for the scientific goals of the 
research.  Plans for the recruitment and retention of subjects will also be 

o The reasonableness of the proposed budget and duration in relation to the 
proposed research

o The adequacy of the proposed protection for humans or the environment, to 
the extent they may be adversely affected by the project proposed in the 

o The adequacy of the proposed plan to share data, if appropriate.


Criteria that will be used to make award decisions include:

o scientific merit (as determined by peer review)
o availability of funds
o programmatic priorities.


Inquiries are encouraged. The opportunity to clarify any issues or answer 
questions from potential applicants is welcome.  A complete listing of 
contacts for both programmatic and fiscal/administrative inquiries may be 
found at


This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Nos. 
93.864 (NICHD), 93.361 (NINR), 93.242 (NIMH), and 93.279 (NIDA). Grants are 
made under authorization of Sections 301 and 405 of the Public Health Service 
Act as amended (42 USC 241 and 284) and administered under NIH grants policies 
and Federal Regulations 42 CFR 52 and 45 CFR Parts 74 and 92.  

This program is not subject to the intergovernmental review requirements of 
Executive Order 12372 or Health Systems Agency review.  The PHS strongly 
encourages all grant recipients to provide a smoke-free Workplace and promote 
the non-use of all tobacco products.  In addition, Public Law 103-227, the 
Pro-Children Act of 1994, prohibits smoking in certain facilities (or in some 
cases, any portion of a facility) in which regular or routine education, 
library, day care, health care, or early childhood development services are 
provided to children.  This is consistent with the PHS mission to protect and 
advance the physical and mental health of the American people.

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