Holly Hagan headshot

Holly Hagan

Co-Director, CDUHR

1 212 998 5221

433 First Avenue
Room 752
New York, NY 10010
United States

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Professional overview

Dr. Holly Hagan is a Professor at Rory Meyers College of Nursing and Co-Director of the NIH Center for Drug Use and HIV Research at NYU. She received her doctorate in Epidemiology from the University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine. Dr. Hagan’s research has principally focused on the infectious disease consequences of substance use, and her main interest is in reducing the burden of hepatitis C virus infection in people who inject drugs. She is the Principal Investigator on an NIH RO1 that uses the methods of implementation science to optimize HCV control strategies in the United States at the national, regional and local level. She is a member of the WHO Global Burden of Disease Study Diseases and Injuries Group, and she served on the Institute of Medicine Committee on the Prevention and Control of Viral Hepatitis in the United States. Dr. Hagan has been an advisor to the US Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC, and the Canadian Institutes of Health on national programs to detect, diagnose and treat HCV infections.

Dr. Hagan teaches research methods to students in the Florence S. Downs PhD Program in Nursing Research and Theory Development.


PhD in Epidemiology - University of Washington
MPH in Epidemiology - University of Massachusetts at Amherst
RN - Seattle Central College
BA in Russian Studies - Evergreen State College

Honors and awards

President’s Award for Leadership in the Control of Viral Hepatitis in the United States, The White House (2014)


Substance use
Infectious disease
Vulnerable & marginalized populations
Research methods

Professional membership

Society for Epidemiologic Research



Needle and syringe programmes and opioid substitution therapy for preventing HCV transmission among people who inject drugs: findings from a Cochrane Review and meta-analysis

Platt, L., Minozzi, S., Reed, J., Vickerman, P., Hagan, H., French, C., Jordan, A., Degenhardt, L., Hope, V., Hutchinson, S., Maher, L., Palmateer, N., Taylor, A., Bruneau, J., & Hickman, M. (2018). Addiction, 113(3), 545-563. 10.1111/add.14012
Aims: To estimate the effects of needle and syringe programmes (NSP) and opioid substitution therapy (OST), alone or in combination, for preventing acquisition of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in people who inject drugs (PWID). Methods: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Bibliographic databases were searched for studies measuring concurrent exposure to current OST (within the last 6 months) and/or NSP and HCV incidence among PWID. High NSP coverage was defined as regular NSP attendance or ≥ 100% coverage (receiving sufficient or greater number of needles and syringes per reported injecting frequency). Studies were assessed using the Cochrane risk of bias in non-randomized studies tool. Random-effects models were used in meta-analysis. Results: We identified 28 studies (n = 6279) in North America (13), United Kingdom (five), Europe (four), Australia (five) and China (one). Studies were at moderate (two), serious (17) critical (seven) and non-assessable risk of bias (two). Current OST is associated with 50% [risk ratio (RR) =0.50, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.40–0.63] reduction in HCV acquisition risk, consistent across region and with low heterogeneity (I2 = 0, P = 0.889). Weaker evidence was found for high NSP coverage (RR = 0.79, 95% CI = 0.39–1.61) with high heterogeneity (I2 = 77%, P = 0.002). After stratifying by region, high NSP coverage in Europe was associated with a 56% reduction in HCV acquisition risk (RR = 0.44, 95% CI = 0.24–0.80) with low heterogeneity (I2 = 12.3%, P = 0.337), but not in North America (RR = 1.58, I2 = 89.5%, P = < 0.001). Combined OST/NSP is associated with a 74% reduction in HCV acquisition risk (RR = 0.26, 95% CI = 0.07–0.89, I2 = 80% P = 0.007). According to Grades of Recommendation Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) criteria, the evidence on OST and combined OST/NSP is low quality, while NSP is very low. Conclusions: Opioid substitution therapy reduces risk of hepatitis C acquisition and is strengthened in combination with needle and syringe programmes (NSP). There is weaker evidence for the impact of needle syringe programmes alone, although stronger evidence that high coverage is associated with reduced risk in Europe.

Use of the PRECIS-II instrument to categorize reports along the efficacy-effectiveness spectrum in an hepatitis C virus care continuum systematic review and meta-analysis

Jordan, A. E., Perlman, D. C., Smith, D. J., Reed, J. R., & Hagan, H. (2018). Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 93, 66-75. 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2017.10.015
There is increasing recognition of the importance of the distinction between efficacy and effectiveness research in the design, conduct, and evaluation of interventions and program outcomes. There is a concurrent increase in the application of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. These two lines of inquiry are only beginning to meet. There is an emerging need for systematic reviews and meta-analyses to account for differences in degrees to which included studies reflect either efficacy or effectiveness design. Based on ongoing work on a formal systematic review of the hepatitis C virus care continuum, this paper describes and discusses the rationale for, and how the PRECIS-II instrument can be used on, and modestly adapted to, studies included in the systematic review examining the extent to which studies include elements of efficacy or effectiveness or a combination of the two. We also highlight that use of such an instrument may have general applicability to and value in the conduct of systematic reviews and meta-analysis.

Association Between Enacted Stigma and HIV-Related Risk Behavior Among MSM, National HIV Behavioral Surveillance System, 2011

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MSM bear a disproportionate burden of the HIV epidemic. Enacted stigma (overt negative actions) against sexual minorities may play an important role in increasing HIV risk among this population. Using data from the 2011 National HIV Behavioral Surveillance system, MSM cycle, we examined the independent associations between three measures of enacted stigma (verbal harassment, discrimination, physical assault) and engagement in each of four HIV-related risk behaviors as outcomes: condomless anal intercourse (CAI) at last sex with a male partner of HIV discordant or unknown status and, in the past 12 months, CAI with a male partner, ≥4 male sex partners, and exchange sex. Of 9819 MSM, 32% experienced verbal harassment in the past 12 months, 23% experienced discrimination, and 8% experienced physical assault. Discordant CAI at last sex with a male partner was associated with previous discrimination and physical assault. Past 12 month CAI with a male partner, ≥4 male sex partners, and exchange sex were each associated with verbal harassment, discrimination, and physical assault. These findings indicate that a sizable proportion of MSM report occurrences of past 12 month enacted stigma and suggest that these experiences may be associated with HIV-related risk behavior. Addressing stigma towards sexual minorities must involve an integrated, multi-faceted approach, including interventions at the individual, community, and societal level.

Check Hep C: A Community-Based Approach to Hepatitis C Diagnosis and Linkage to Care in High-Risk Populations

Ford, M. M., Johnson, N., Rude, E., Laraque, F., Varma, J. K., & Hagan, H. (2017). Journal of Public Health Management and Practice. 10.1097/PHH.0000000000000519
CONTEXT:: In New York City (NYC), an estimated 146 500 people, or 2.4% of the adult population, have chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and half may be unaware of their infection. Despite a 2014 state law requiring health care providers to screen for HCV infection in primary care settings, many high-risk HCV-positive persons are not, and a large proportion of those screened do not receive RNA testing to confirm infection, or antiviral therapies. OBJECTIVE:: The NYC Department of Healthʼs Check Hep C program was designed to increase hepatitis C diagnosis and improve linkage to care at community-based organizations. DESIGN:: Coordinated, evidence-based practices were implemented at 12 sites, including HCV antibody testing, immediate blood draw for RNA testing, and patient navigation to clinical services. RESULTS:: From May 2012 through April 2013, a total of 4751 individuals were tested for HCV infection and 880 (19%) were antibody-positive. Of antibody-positive participants, 678 (77%) had an RNA test, and of those, 512 (76%) had current infection. Of all participants, 1901 were born between 1945 and 1965, and of those, 201 (11%) were RNA-positive. Ever having injected drugs was the strongest risk factor for HCV infection (40% vs 3%; adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 19.1), followed by a history of incarceration (18% vs 4%; AOR = 2.2). Of the participants with current infection, 85% attended at least 1 follow-up hepatitis C medical appointment. Fourteen patients initiated hepatitis C treatment at a Check Hep C site and 6 initiators achieved cure. CONCLUSION:: The community-based model successfully identified persons with HCV infection and linked a large proportion to care. The small number of patients initiating hepatitis C treatment in the program identified the need for patient navigation in high-risk populations. Results can be used to inform screening and linkage-to-care strategies and to support the execution of hepatitis C screening recommendations.

Continuing Links Between Substance Use and HIV Highlight the Importance of Nursing Roles

Deren, S., Naegle, M., Hagan, H., & Ompad, D. C. (2017). Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care. 10.1016/j.jana.2017.03.005
Links between HIV and substance use were identified early in the U.S. HIV epidemic. People who use drugs are at risk of HIV infection through shared injection equipment and risky sexual behaviors. In addition, substance use has negative health consequences for people living with HIV. The prescription opioid misuse epidemic, linked to injection drug use, hepatitis C infection, and HIV, poses a new threat to declining HIV rates. We reviewed evidence-based interventions that decrease HIV risk in people who use drugs (needle/syringe programs, medication-assisted treatment, engagement in HIV care, and preexposure prophylaxis/postexposure prophylaxis). The critical roles of nurses in HIV prevention/care for this population are described, including applying the principles of harm reduction, screening for substance use, and undertaking implementation and research efforts. As the nation's largest health care profession, nurses are positioned to contribute to the quality of HIV-related prevention/care for people who use drugs and to lead practice initiatives.

Decline in herpes simplex virus type 2 among non-injecting heroin and cocaine users in New York City, 2005 to 2014: Prospects for avoiding a resurgence of human immunodeficiency virus

Des Jarlais, D. C., Arasteh, K., Feelemyer, J., McKnight, C., Tross, S., Perlman, D. C., Campbell, A. N., Hagan, H., & Cooper, H. L. (2017). Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 44(2), 85-90. 10.1097/OLQ.0000000000000549
Background: Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) infection increases both susceptibility to and transmissibility of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and HSV-2 and HIV are often strongly associated in HIV epidemics. We assessed trends in HSV-2 prevalence among non-injecting drug users (NIDUs) when HIV prevalence declined from 16% to 8% among NIDUs in New York City. Methods: Subjects were current non-injecting users of heroin and/or cocaine and who had never injected illicit drugs. Three thousand one hundred fifty-seven NIDU subjects were recruited between 2005 and 2014 among persons entering Mount Sinai Beth Israel substance use treatment programs. Structured interviews, HIV, and HSV-2 testing were administered. Change over time was assessed by comparing 2005 to 2010 with 2011 to 2014 periods. Herpes simplex virus type 2 incidence was estimated among persons who participated in multiple years. Results: Herpes simplex virus type 2 prevalence was strongly associated with HIV prevalence (odds ratio, 3.9; 95% confidence interval, 2.9-5.1) from 2005 to 2014. Herpes simplex virus type 2 prevalence declined from 60% to 56% (P = 0.01). The percentage of NIDUs with neither HSV-2 nor HIVinfection increased from37% to 43%, (P < 0.001); the percentagewith HSV-2/HIV coinfection declined from 13% to 6% (P < 0.001). Estimated HSV-2 incidence was 1 to 2/100 person-years at risk. Conclusions: There were parallel declines in HIV and HSV-2 among NIDUs in New York City from 2005 to 2014. The increase in the percentage of NIDUs with neither HSV-2 nor HIV infection, the decrease in the percentage with HSV-2/HIV coinfection, and the low to moderate HSV-2 incidence suggest some population-level protection against resurgence of HIV. Prevention efforts should be strengthened to end the combined HIV/HSV-2 epidemic among NIDUs in New York City.

Past-year prevalence of prescription opioid misuse among those 11 to 30 years of age in the United States: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Jordan, A. E., Blackburn, N. A., Des Jarlais, D. C., & Hagan, H. (2017). Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 77, 31-37. 10.1016/j.jsat.2017.03.007
Background There are high levels of prescription and consumption of prescription opioids in the US. Misuse of prescription opioids has been shown to be highly correlated with prescription opioid-related morbidity and mortality including fatal and non-fatal overdose. We characterized the past-year prevalence of prescription opioid misuse among those 11–30 years of age in the US. Methods A systematic review and meta-analysis were carried out following a published protocol and PRISMA guidelines. We searched electronic databases; reports were eligible if they were published between 1/1/1990–5/30/2014, and included data on individuals 11–30 years of age from the US. Study quality was assessed using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale. Results A total of 3211 abstracts were reviewed for inclusion; after discarding duplicates and identifying non-eligible reports, a total of 19 unique reports, providing 34 estimates, were included in the final systematic review and meta-analysis. The range of past-year prescription opioid misuse prevalence the reports was 0.7%–16.3%. An increase in prevalence of 0.4% was observed over the years of data collection. Conclusions This systematic review and meta-analysis found a high prevalence of past-year prescription opioid misuse among individuals 11–30 years of age. Importantly, we identified an increase in past-year prevalence 1990–2014. Misuse of prescription opioids has played an important role in national increases of fatal and non-fatal drug overdose, heroin use and injection, and HIV and HCV infection among young people. The observed high and increasing prevalence of prescription opioid misuse is an urgent public health issue.

Policy Changes and Improvements in Health Insurance Coverage Among MSM: 20 U.S. Cities, 2008–2014

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Recent policy changes have improved the ability of gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) to secure health insurance. We wanted to assess changes over time in self-reported health insurance status among MSM participating in CDC’s National HIV Behavioral Surveillance (NHBS) in 2008, 2011, and 2014. We analyzed NHBS data from sexually active MSM interviewed at venues in 20 U.S. cities. To determine if interview year was associated with health insurance status, we used a Poisson model with robust standard errors. Among included MSM, the overall percentage of MSM with health insurance rose 16 % from 2008 (68 %) to 2014 (79 %) (p value for trend < 0.001). The change in coverage over time was greatest in key demographic segments with lower health insurance coverage all three interview years, by age, education, and income. Corresponding with recent policy changes, health insurance improved among MSM participating in NHBS, with greater improvements in historically underinsured demographic segments. Despite these increases, improved coverage is still needed. Improved access to health insurance could lead to a reduction in health disparities among MSM over time.

Prevalence of hepatitis C virus infection among HIV+ men who have sex with men: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Jordan, A. E., Perlman, D. C., Neurer, J., Smith, D. J., Des Jarlais, D. C., & Hagan, H. (2017). International Journal of STD and AIDS, 28(2), 145-159. 10.1177/0956462416630910
Since 2000, an increase in hepatitis C virus infection among HIV-infected (HIV+) men who have sex with men has been observed. Evidence points to blood exposure during sex as the medium of hepatitis C virus transmission. Hepatitis C virus prevalence among HIV + MSM overall and in relation to injection drug use is poorly characterized. In this study, a systematic review and meta-analysis examining global hepatitis C virus antibody prevalence and estimating active hepatitis C virus prevalence among HIV + MSM were conducted; 42 reports provided anti-hepatitis C virus prevalence data among HIV + MSM. Pooled prevalence produced an overall anti-hepatitis C virus prevalence among HIV + MSM of 8.1%; active HCV prevalence estimate was 5.3%–7.3%. Anti-hepatitis C virus prevalence among injection drug use and non-injection drug use HIV + MSM was 40.0% and 6.7%, respectively. Among HIV + MSM, hepatitis C virus prevalence increased significantly over time among the overall and non-injection drug use groups, and decreased significantly among injection drug use HIV + MSM. We identified a moderate prevalence of hepatitis C virus among all HIV + MSM and among non-injection drug use HIV + MSM; for both, prevalence was observed to be increasing slightly. Pooled prevalence of hepatitis C virus among HIV + MSM was higher than that observed in the 1945–1965 US birth cohort. The modest but rising hepatitis C virus prevalence among HIV + MSM suggests an opportunity to control HCV among HIV + MSM; this combined with data demonstrating a rising hepatitis C virus incidence highlights the temporal urgency to do so.

Public health benefit of peer-referral strategies for detecting undiagnosed HIV infection among high-risk heterosexuals in New York City

Gwadz, M., Cleland, C. M., Perlman, D. C., Hagan, H., Jenness, S. M., Leonard, N. R., Ritchie, A. S., & Kutnick, A. (2017). Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, 74(5), 499-507. 10.1097/QAI.0000000000001257
Identifying undiagnosed HIV infection is necessary for the elimination of HIV transmission in the United States. The present study evaluated the efficacy of 3 community-based approaches for uncovering undiagnosed HIV among heterosexuals at high-risk (HHR), who are mainly African American/Black and Hispanic. Heterosexuals comprise 24% of newly reported HIV infections in the United States, but experience complex multilevel barriers to HIV testing. We recruited African American/Black and Hispanic HHR in a discrete urban area with both elevated HIV prevalence and poverty rates. Approaches tested were (1) respondent-driven sampling (RDS) and confidential HIV testing in 2 sessions (n = 3116); (2) RDS and anonymous HIV testing in one session (n = 498); and (3) venuebased sampling (VBS) and HIV testing in a single session (n = 403). The main outcome was newly diagnosed HIV infection. RDS with anonymous testing and one session reached HHR with less HIV testing experience and more risk factors than the other approaches. Furthermore, RDS with anonymous (4.0%) and confidential (1.0%) testing yielded significantly higher rates of newly diagnosed HIV than VBS (0.3%). Thus peer-referral approaches were more efficacious than VBS for uncovering HHR with undiagnosed HIV, particularly a single-session/anonymous strategy, and have a vital role to play in efforts to eliminate HIV transmission.