Sandra Ann Springer MD

Associate Professor of Medicine (AIDS); Director, Infectious Disease Outpatient Clinic, Veterans Administration Healthcare Services, Newington

Research Interests

Adherence Interventions for HIV+ prisoners with substance use disorders and mental illness, The use of Directly observed antiretroviral therapy (DAART); Buprenorphine/naloxone; Naltrexone

Current Projects

1. Feasibility study evaluating effect of Buprenorphine/Naloxone administration on relapse to opioid use and HIV biological endpoints (CD4 count, HIV-1 Viral Load) among opioid dependent HIV+ released prisoners.
2. The effect of alcohol pharmacotherapy (injectable naltrexone) on relapse to alcohol use and HIV biological endpoints (CD4 count, HIV-1 Viral Load) among HIV+ alcohol dependent released prisoners.
3. Using a randomized, placebo-controlled trial, HIV treatment, opioid treatment and HIV risk behavior outcomes are examined among HIV+ prisoners with opioid dependence who are treated with injectable naltrexone as they are released to the community.
4. HIV screening and testing interventions for correctional settings.
5. Improving linkages to care for HIV-infected released prisoners.
6. Identification and treatment of co-occurring mental illness among HIV+ released prisoners.

Research Summary

Dr. Springer's research interests include improving adherence to antiretrovirals and drug treatment for HIV infected men and women with co-occurring substance use disorders and mental illness. Clinical research includes relapse prevention to opioid and alcohol use using substance dependence pharmacotherapies including buprenorphine and naltrexone among HIV+ released prisoners.

Extensive Research Description

She has received a 5 year K23 Career Development Award from the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) to study adherence interventions for HIV-infected opiate dependent released prisoners providing directly observed antiretroviral therapy and buprenorphine/naloxone treatment and its effects on relapse prevention as well as HIV clinical endpoints. Dr. Springer is also a CIRA- affiliated scientist. She has 2 R01s (NIAAA and NIDA) to evaluate the effectiveness of naltrexone to maintain HIV treatment outcomes via preventing relapse to alcohol and opioid use among HIV+ persons leaving the criminal justice system.

She has recently received a K02 independent scientist award from NIDA as well. Dr. Springer has expertise in the development and implementation of medication-assisted-therapy interventions involving HIV+, drug and alcohol dependent persons involved in the criminal justice setting.

Selected Publications

  • Springer SA, Dushaj A, Marwan MM. The Impact of DSM-IV Mental Disorders on Adherence to Combination Antiretroviral Therapy among Adult Persons Living with HIV/AIDS: A Systematic Review Article. 2012. AIDS Behav. IN PRESS.
  • Chitsaz E, Meyer J, Krishnan A, Springer SA, Marcus R, Zaller N, et al. (2012). Contribution of Substance Use Disorders on HIV Treatment Outcomes and Antiretroviral Medication Adherence Among HIV-infected Persons Entering Jail AIDS Behav. 2012. In Press.
  • Krishnan A, Wickersham J, Chitsaz C, Springer SA, Jordan AO, Altice FL. (2012). Substance Abuse Outcomes for HIV-Infected Released Jail Detainees: Results from a Multisite Study. AIDS Behav. 2012. In Press.
  • Lincoln T, Simon-Levine D, Smith J, Donenberg G, Springer SA, Zaller N, Altice FL, Moore K, Jordan A, Draine J, Desabrain M. Prevalence and Predictors of Psychiatric Distress Among HIV+ Jail Detainees at Enrollment in an Observational Study. Aids Behav. 2012. IN PRESS.
  • Springer SA, Qiu J, Saber-Tehrani, AS, & Altice, FL. Retention on buprenorphine is associated with high levels of maximal viral suppression among HIV-infected opioid dependent released prisoners. Plos ONE. 2012. In Press.
  • Chen NE, Meyer JP, Avery Ak, Draine J, Ph, Flanigan TP, Lincoln T, Spaulding AC, Springer SA, Altice FL. Adherence to HIV treatment and care among previously homeless jail detainees. AIDS and Behavior, 2011; Nov 8 (Epub ahead of print).(PMID: 22065234)
  • Springer SA. High rates of depressive Symptomatology among injecting drug users in Saskatoon, Canada.. Evidence Based Mental Health. 2011 Nov 1. (Epub ahead of print).
  • Saber Tehrani AS, Springer SA, Qiu J, Herme M, Wickersham J, Altice FL. Rationale, Study Design and Sample Characteristics of a Randomized Controlled Trial of Directly Administered Antiretroviral Therapy for HIV-infected Prisoners Transitioning to the Community - Potential Conduit to Improved HIV Treatment Outcomes. Contemporary Clinical Trials. 2011 Nov ;(Epub ahead of Print)..
  • Springer SA, Spaulding AC, Meyer JP, Altice FL. Public Health Implications for Adequate Transitional Care for HIV-Infected Prisoners: Five Essential Components. Clinical Infectious Disease, 2011 53(5):469-479.
  • Springer SA. A commentary: A Call to Action: Opioid Substitution Therapy as a Conduit to Routine Care and Primary Prevention of HIV Transmission Among Opioid Dependent Prisoners. Addiction. 2010; 105; 224-225. [PMC2825564]


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