UCLA Vine Street Clinic

The UCLA Vine Street Clinic (UVSC) was established in 2005 in order to study the diffusion of HIV among methamphetamine user networks. Since that time, it has served as a site for clinical trials, behavioral research, and direct services focusing on the treatment of addiction, HIV prevention, and the intersection of the two. It is unique in its location, bringing the best in academia from UCLA into a transitional neighborhood of predominately working poor, an area designated as a medically underserved. The facility includes exam and counseling rooms for patient care and a lab for collection and storage of biological samples. Current projects on-going at the clinic are detailed below.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call us at (323) 461-3106 or email us at uclavsc@mednet.ucla.edu.

Our Current Programs Include:

RELEVANCE: Phenotyping is a tool that has been recently introduced in the study of addiction and can be used to improve diagnosis and overall treatment outcomes. It aids in the identification of biological and behavioral markers of severity that can be useful in determining response to treatment. A recent study examined the feasibility and administration of the NIDA Phenotyping Assessment Battery (PhAB), a modular package of assessments and neurocognitive tasks, but the need for a large-scale phenotyping study to further explore the validity and utility of PhAB in clinical trials remains.

DESCRIPTION: This is a multisite observational study that involves administration of an assessment battery (including NIDA PhAB and SUDSS) to individuals meeting DSM-5 criteria for moderate or severe SUD seeking treatment or recently enrolled (within past 90 days) at up to five clinical sites. It aims to evaluate the feasibility, construct validity, and test-retest reliability of the NIDA PhAB and refine it into a very brief battery that can be efficiently embedded in future clinical trials, allowing for aggregation and comparison of data across studies, enhancing scientific yield and advancing personalized medicine for SUD.

STATUS: Currently enrolling. Please call 323-461-3106 for more information or sign-up at https://vinestreet.uclacbam.org/vs-form/.

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RELEVANCE: Determining whether a patient is both feeling better and improving physiologically when treating people living with HIV (PLWH) for methamphetamine use disorder (MUD) requires identification of a clinically significant measure separate from abstinence. This study aims to address this challenge by testing a gene expression pattern identified by the field of social genomics, which may provide insight into both psychosocial health and biological processes that impact chronic disease risk in PLWH receiving MUD treatment.

DESCRIPTION: The purpose of this study is examine methamphetamine treatment and its impact on immune function and mental health. It aims to investigate whether a neurally regulated “stress” gene expression pattern can serve as a clinically meaningful, non-abstinence-based endpoint for contingency management for methamphetamine (METH) use disorder (MUD) in MSM living with HIV.

STATUS: This study is currently active and enrolling participants at the UCLA Vine Street Clinic. Click here for more information.

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RELEVANCE: Methamphetamine (MA) use is common among MSM and is an important driver of the HIV/STI epidemic. Understanding the biological and behavioral risk factors that drive ongoing HIV/STI transmission among MA-using MSM is critical to designing potent HIV prevention interventions. Prevalence of MA use is substantially higher among MSM (5.9% among HIV-negative MSM and 12.3% among MSM living with HIV) than the general population (0.7%) (2,3), with a 707% increase in MA-related mortality in Los Angeles County over the past decade. MA use is associated with increased risk for HIV/STI acquisition and impaired HIV virologic control. Lack of HIV virologic control among HIV-positive MA-using MSM, combined with increased HIV/STI prevalence within their sexual networks, contributes to ongoing HIV/STI transmission. As MA use is associated with high-risk behavior, it is important to study the impacts of MA use on the biological and behavioral factors that are driving HIV/STI transmission among MSM.

DESCRIPTION: This study will evaluate whether methamphetamine use and/or sexually transmitted infections influence levels of inflammatory markers (cytokines) in the blood and in the rectum. The study uses contingency management and will include visits three times a week over 8 weeks. Participants will also be asked to complete surveys, provide samples (blood samples and rectal swabs), and have urine tested for the presence of drugs. They will also be offered a prescription for HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis at enrollment.

STATUS: This study is currently active and enrolling participants at the UCLA Vine Street Clinic.

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RELEVANCE: Stimulant use, especially among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Los Angeles County (LAC) is common.  Stimulant drug use, particularly methamphetamine use, is a significant factor in the progression of HIV and STI among MSM in LAC.  Non-white MSM are at greatest risk of HIV infection in the United States.  Analyses of drug use are needed among diverse samples of MSM in order to understand the impact of drug use on the HIV epidemic over time and to address the effect of long-term drug use patterns on uptake and adherence to treatment and prevention of the disease.

DESCRIPTION: The goal of this project is to assemble a cohort of minority men who have sex with men (MMSM) who actively use substances and engage transmission risks. This will facilitate studies on interactions between substance use and HIV progression and/or transmission. This important cohort of MMSM will characterize: (i) effects substance use on risk behaviors, and network dynamics in exposed and infected MMSM on acquisition of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs: gonorrhea, Chlamydia, syphilis, Hepatitis C (HCV)); and (ii) the extent to which substance use in MMSM facilitates behaviors that transmit HIV compared to non-drug using MMSM.

STATUS: This study is no longer enrolling new participants. Several papers have been published using the findings to date. See below for your reference:

  1. Blair CS, Needleman J, Javanbakht M, Comulada WS, Ragsdale A, Bolan R, Shoptaw S, Gorbach PM. Examining the Relative Contributions of Methamphetamine Use, Depression, and Sexual Risk Behavior on Rectal Gonorrhea/Chlamydia Among a Cohort of Men Who Have Sex With Men in Los Angeles, California. Sex Transm Dis. 2022 Mar 1;49(3):216-222. PMCID: PMC8821317.


  1. Blair CS, Javanbakht M, Comulada WS, Richter EI, Bolan R, Shoptaw S, Gorbach PM. Lubricants and rectal douching: associations with rectal gonorrhea, chlamydia, and/or syphilis infection among men who have sex with men. Int J STD AIDS. 2020 Oct;31(11):1040-1046. Epub 2020 Aug 4. PMCID: PMC7654094.


  1. Blair CS, Needleman J, Javanbakht M, Comulada WS, Ragsdale A, Bolan R, Shoptaw S, Gorbach PM. Risk Behaviors Associated with Patterns of Sexualized Stimulant and Alcohol Use among Men Who Have Sex with Men: a Latent Class Analysis. J Urban Health. 2022 Apr;99(2):293-304Epub 2022 Jan 14. PMCID: PMC9033896.


  1. Li MJ, Richter EI, Okafor CN, Kalmin MM, Dalvie S, Takada S, Gorbach PM, Shoptaw SJ, Cole SW. Social Genomics of Methamphetamine Use, HIV Viral Load, and Social Adversity. Ann Behav Med. 2022 Aug 30;56(9):900-908. PMCID: PMC9424866.


  1. Quinn B, Gorbach PM, Okafor CN, Heinzerling KG, Shoptaw S. Investigating possible syndemic relationships between structural and drug use factors, sexual HIV transmission and viral load among men of colour who have sex with men in Los Angeles County. Drug Alcohol Rev. 2020 Feb;39(2):116-127. PMCID: PMC8007134.


  1. Li MJ, Takada S, Okafor CN, Gorbach PM, Shoptaw SJ, Cole SW. Experienced homophobia and gene expression alterations in Black and Latino men who have sex with men in Los Angeles County. Brain Behav Immun. 2020 Jan;83:120-125. Epub 2019 Sep 26. PMCID: PMC6906252.


  1. Li MJ, Okafor CN, Gorbach PM, Shoptaw S. Intersecting burdens: Homophobic victimization, unstable housing, and methamphetamine use in a cohort of men of color who have sex with men. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2018 Nov 1;192:179-185. Epub 2018 Sep 13. PMCID: PMC6200602.


  1. Cohen JM, Li MJ, Javanbakht M, Gorbach PM, Shoptaw SJ. Methamphetamine use and adoption of preventive behaviors early in the COVID-19 pandemic among men who have sex with men in Los Angeles, California. Drug Alcohol Depend Rep. 2022 Dec;5:100097. Epub 2022 Sep 29. PMCID: PMC9519521.


  1. Shoptaw S, Li MJ, Javanbakht M, Ragsdale A, Goodman-Meza D, Gorbach PM. Frequency of reported methamphetamine use linked to prevalence of clinical conditions, sexual risk behaviors, and social adversity in diverse men who have sex with men in Los Angeles. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2022 Mar 1;232:109320. Epub 2022 Jan 19. PMCID: PMC8885921.


  1. Ciccarone D, Shoptaw S. Understanding Stimulant Use and Use Disorders in a New Era. Med Clin North Am. 2022 Jan;106(1):81-97. PMCID: PMC8670631.


  1. Okafor CN, Gorbach PM, Ragsdale A, Quinn B, Shoptaw S. Correlates of Preexposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Use among Men Who Have Sex with Men (MSM) in Los Angeles, California. J Urban Health. 2017 Oct;94(5):710-715. PMCID: PMC5610125.


  1. Takada S, Gorbach P, Brookmeyer R, Shoptaw S. Associations of social capital resources and experiences of homophobia with HIV transmission risk behavior and HIV care continuum among men who have sex with men in Los Angeles. AIDS Care. 2021 May;33(5):663-674. Epub 2020 Oct 14. PMCID: PMC8044261.


  1. Gorbach PM, Javanbakht M, Ragsdale A, Bolan RB, Flynn R, Mandler R, Shoptaw S. Methamphetamine Injection Among Young Men Who Have Sex With Men: Risk for Human Immunodeficiency Virus Transmission in a Los Angeles Cohort. J Infect Dis. 2020 Sep 2;222(Suppl 5):S471-S476. PMCID: PMC7566619.

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RELEVANCE: Cocaine is one of the most commonly abused stimulants globally, and in the US, there are signs of a resurgence of cocaine use. A variety of pharmacotherapies for cocaine use disorder (CUD) has been explored but so far, no study has findings robust enough to warrant FDA approval. Recent research suggests that a kappa opioid receptor antagonist can curb the negative emotional states associated with stimulant withdrawal that leads to increased craving and drug-seeking behaviors.

DESCRIPTION: This protocol builds up on results of the Cocaine Use Reduction with Buprenorphine (CURB) study. It aims to evaluate the safety and efficacy of combined monthly injections of XR-NTX and injectable BUP for CUD compared to placebo.

STATUS: We are currently enrolling. Please call us at 323-461-3106 for additional information or sign up here.        

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According to a 1992 study published in the Journal of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, using a condom makes sex 10,000 times safer than not using a condom. The UCLA Vine Street Clinic has partnered with LA County to provide free condoms to the public. For more information, visit http://lacondom.com/find-free-condoms/

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CBAM is a multidisciplinary center that seeks to advance the prevention and treatment of chronic illnesses, especially in communities with health disparities. As part of the UCLA Department of Family Medicine, CBAM works at the intersection of academia and community with a focus on treating addictions and preventing the spread of HIV.

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