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;extended-release naltrexone for alcohol and opioid dependence among HIV+ Criminal justice populations to improve retention in care post-release and suppress HIV Viral load.

Current Projects


1.. The effect of alcohol pharmacotherapy (extended-release naltrexone) in a double-blind placebo-controlled randominzed trial to assess effects on relapse to alcohol use and HIV biological endpoints (CD4 count, HIV-1 Viral Load) among HIV+ alcohol dependent released prisoners.
2. 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.
3. HIV risk reduction among persons being released from correctional settings.
4. Improving linkages to care for HIV-infected released prisoners.
5. Identification and treatment of co-occurring mental illness among HIV+ released prisoners.

6. implementing Xr-ntx among opioid dependent persons in Ukraine.

7. Evalauting the effect of buprenorphine to improve linkage to care for HIV+ opioid dependent persons with criminal justice histories in Washington D.C.


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) as principal investigator to evaluate the effectiveness of extended-release naltrexone to maintain HIV treatment outcomes via preventing relapse to alcohol and opioid use among HIV+ persons leaving the criminal justice system. She is a co-investigator on 2 R01s with PI Dr. Altice from NIDA (1) using buprenorphine to improve HIV treatment outcomes among opioid dependent persons with criminal justice histories in Washington D.C. and (2) implementing extended-release naltrexone for opioid dependent persons in Ukraine. She has 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, Chen S, Altice FL. Depression and symptomatic response among HIV-infected drug users enrolled in a randomized controlled trial of directly administered antiretroviral therapy. AIDS Care. 2009 August; 21; 8: 976-983. [PMC2797133]
  • Springer SA & Bruce R. A pilot survey of attitudes and knowledge of opioid substitution therapy for HIV-infected prisoners. Journal of Opiate Management. 2008 April; 4(2): 81-86. [PMC2476214]
  • Springer SA, Friedland G, Doros, G, Pesanti E, Altice F. Antiretroviral treatment regimens outcomes among HIV-Infected prisoners. HIV Clinical Trials. 2007 Jul-Aug; 8(4):205-212. [PMC2409059]
  • Springer SA & Altice FL. Managing HIV in correctional settings. Current HIV/AIDS Reports. 2005 Nov; 2:165-170. [PMID: 16343373]
  • Altice FL, Marinovich A, Khoshnood K, Blankenship KM, Springer SA, Selwyn PA. Correlates of HIV infection among incarcerated women: Implications for improving detection of HIV infection. Journal of Urban Health. 2005 Jun; 82(2):312-26. [PMID: 15872190
  • Springer SA, Pesanti E, Doros G, Hodges J, Macura T, Altice FL. Effectiveness of antiretroviral therapy among HIV infected prisoners: Reincarceration and the lack of sustained benefit after release to the community. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2004 Jun 15; 38(12):1754-1760. [PMID: 15227623
  • Meyer J, Wickersham J, Fu J, Brown SE, Sullivan T, Springer S, Altice F. Partner Violence and Health among HIV-Infected Jail Detainees. International Journal of Prisoner Health. Int J Prison Health. 2013; 9(3): 124–141. PMCID: PMC3873166
  • Chitsaz E, Meyer JP, Krishnan A, Springer SA, Marcus R, Zaller N, Jordan AO, Lincoln T, Flanigan TP, Porterfield J, Altice FL. Contribution of Substance Use Disorders on HIV Treatment Outcomes and Antiretroviral Medication Adherence Among HIV-infected Persons Entering Jail. AIDS and Behavior 2013 May 15. [PMID: 23673792
  • Krishnan A, Wickersham JA, Chitsaz E, Springer SA, Jordan AO, Zaller N, Altice FL. Post-release substance abuse outcomes among HIV-infected jail detainees: Results from a multisite study. AIDS Behavior. 2012. Nov 11. [Epub ahead of print] [PMID: 23142854].
  • Di Paola A, Lincoln T, Skiest D, Desabrais M, Altice FL, Springer SA. Design and methods of a double blind randomized placebo-controlled trial of extended-release naltrexone for HIV-infected, opioid dependent prisoners and jail detainees who are transitioning to the community. Contemporary Clinical Trials. September 2014. IN PRESS.

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