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–FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE–
NOVA RESEARCH COMPANY BREAKS LANGUAGE BARRIERS
NOVA's QDS–HAPI™ for Pocket PC Used for Multilingual POSIT Supplement in South African Schools, Introduces New Adolescent HIV/STD Risk-Scale
Bethesda, Maryland—Tuesday, June 14, 2005—The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has supplemented a 5-year research grant to NOVA Research Company, a provider of innovative technology, consulting, and research support services for the global health and research communities, to conduct an Adolescent HIV/STD Risk-of-Exposure Screen Development POSIT-based study in South Africa. It will be conducted as part of a 2-year collaboration with researchers at the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the University of Cape Town (UCT) in Cape Town, South Africa. The South African supplement (and its parent study) is being conducted to develop an 11th problem area scale, the HIV/STD Risk-Scale, used to screen for risk of future exposure to HIV and STDs/STIs among adolescents. In addition, the study will validate selected problem areas of the POSIT determined by NOVA's South African colleagues to be appropriate for administration to South African youth. Approximately 1,000 youths, ages 12 through 19 and enrolled in 12 schools in and around Cape Town, will be interviewed in three languages: Afrikaans, South African English, and Xhosa. Data collection will be conducted using NOVA's QDS–HAPI™ Pocket PC questionnaire development system and will be managed using the QDS™ Warehouse Manager. Data analyses will be conducted using item-response theory analysis to validate those POSIT problem area scales selected for use in South Africa, as well as the newly developed HIV/STD risk scale. The ultimate goal is to develop the POSIT and HIV/STD Risk Scale in all 11 official languages spoken in South Africa.

The parent study, Adolescent HIV/STD Risk-of-Exposure Screen Development, is now in its fourth year. It is based on the Problem Oriented Screening Instrument for Teenagers (POSIT), a valuable tool for identifying potential problems for prevention or treatment interventions that is particularly appropriate for use among adolescents 12 through 19 years old. It addresses ten areas: drug use/abuse, mental health, physical health, family relations, peer relations, social skills, vocational status, educational status, leisure/recreation, and aggressive behavior/delinquency. Phase I (English) of the study was completed at the end of 2004 and included more than 1,400 adolescents from different data collection sites in different regions of the United States who were interviewed using NOVA's QDS™ audio-CASI on laptop computers. In Phase II (Spanish), currently underway, adolescents will be drawn from U.S. locations that serve Spanish-speaking youth from various Hispanic backgrounds.

NOVA's QDS™ has been field-tested extensively in more than 50 studies in the United States and abroad. In addition, a NIDA prerequisite to receiving this supplemental grant award was that the grantee organization must have experience working with local organizations in South Africa. Since 2001, NOVA has worked with the MRC and UCT scientists who have used NOVA's QDS™ software for HIV-related studies focused on risky sexual behaviors and for studies addressing adherence to lengthy tuberculosis-treatment protocols.

"NIDA felt that this was a very important extension of the POSIT because getting to younger groups early to address the rising rate of AIDS is so important—especially in South Africa. NOVA is honored to conduct a supplemental study with international organizations and to be recognized for high-quality work done in the United States and overseas," said Paul A. Young, M.B.A./M.P.H., Executive Vice President and Research Director at NOVA Research Company and Principal Investigator for the study. "Armed with the new QDS–HAPI™ for Pocket PC, our international partners can finally use much more affordable tools to overcome issues such as security and lack of electricity when interviewing subjects in small villages and other rural communities," he added.

"It's extremely important to frame sensitive questions on sexual behavior using language that is appropriate for teens and in such a way that these questions can be administered separately, if necessary, by service providers in schools, clinics, and juvenile assessment centers," said Dr. Elizabeth Rahdert, Ph.D., NOVA's Co-Principal Investigator and Project Director. Dr. Rahdert holds a doctorate in clinical psychology and previously worked for 16 years at NIDA, where in 1987, she initiated development of the POSIT.

About NOVA Research Company
Founded in 1986, NOVA Research Company is the trusted leader in providing innovative technology, consulting, and research support services for the global health and research communities. NOVA has worked worldwide with leading commercial research organizations; 31 universities and academic research institutions; more than 24 Government agencies, including the National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); and the World Health Organization (WHO). NOVA has a 19-year track record of facilitating cost-effective and timely transfer of technology and information from research and clinical labs. Funded through a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant, NOVA's QDS™ (Questionnaire Development System) software has been used extensively in biomedical and behavioral health studies in ten countries. In addition, NOVA is a GSA (General Services Administration)-certified supplier to Federal and state agencies. Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, privately held NOVA has onsite research teams in Atlanta, Georgia; Baltimore and Hyattsville, Maryland; and Berkeley, California. For more information, visit www.novaresearch.com or call 301-986-1891.

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