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Javier Lopez-Rios, PhD, MPH

Javier Lopez Rios headshot

Assistant Teaching Professor
Community Health and Prevention
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PhD, Community Health and Health Policy, CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy
MPH, Community Health Education, Hunter College of CUNY
BA, Psychology, University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez


Javier Lopez-Rios is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Department of Community Health & Prevention of the Dornsife School of Public Health. He received his BA in 2012 from the University of Puerto Rico, his MPH in 2016 from Hunter College of CUNY and his PhD in 2021 from the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy.

Most recently, Dr. Lopez-Rios was a research project manager at the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University. He oversaw a series of federally funded research studies on the use of HIV rapid testing modalities by sexual and racial/ethnic minority populations in New York City. Additionally, Dr. Lopez-Rios was an Adjunct Lecturer at the York College of CUNY in the Department of Health and Human Performance.

Dr. Lopez-Rios’ work is focused on the prevention of HIV/AIDS, specifically improving HIV testing and access to HIV care for sexual minority populations. He is trained in Qualitative Research methods and has over 10 years of research experience in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

Research Interests

  • Racial, Ethnic and Sexual Minority Populations
  • HIV/AIDS Prevention and Intervention
  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Community Health


Lopez-Rios J. Missed Opportunities for HIV Prevention in Puerto Rico: An Argument for Inclusivity and Community Coalitions. Am J Public Health. 2021 Jun 10:e1-e2. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2021.306342. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34110935.

Balán IC, Lopez-Rios J, Lentz C, Arumugam S, Dolezal C, Kutner B, Rael CT, Ying AW, Macar OU, Sia SK. Acceptability and Use of a Dual HIV/Syphilis Rapid Test and Accompanying Smartphone App to Facilitate Self- and Partner-Testing Among Cisgender Men and Transgender Women Who Have Sex with Men. AIDS Behav. 2021 May 26. doi: 10.1007/s10461-021-03322-9. Epub ahead of print.

D'Angelo AB, Morrison CA, Lopez-Rios J, MacCrate CJ, Pantalone DW, Stief M, Grov C. Experiences Receiving HIV-Positive Results by Phone: Acceptability and Implications for Clinical and Behavioral Research. AIDS Behav. 2021 Mar;25(3):709-720. doi: 10.1007/s10461-020-03027-5. PMID: 32915328; PMCID: PMC7483487.

John SA, López-Rios J, Starks TJ, Rendina HJ, Grov C. Willingness to Distribute HIV Self-Testing Kits to Recent Sex Partners Among HIV-Negative Gay and Bisexual Men and an Examination of Free-Response Data from Young Men Participating in the Nationwide Cohort. Arch Sex Behav. 2020 Aug;49(6):2081-2089. doi: 10.1007/s10508-020-01752-5. Epub 2020 Jun 3. PMID: 32495242; PMCID: PMC7366497.

Balán IC, Lopez-Rios J, Nayak S, Lentz C, Arumugam S, Kutner B, Dolezal C, Macar OU, Pabari T, Wang Ying A, Okrah M, Sia SK. SMARTtest: A Smartphone app to facilitate HIV and syphilis self- and partner-testing, interpretation of results, and linkage to care. AIDS and Behavior. 2020;24(5):1560-1573. doi: 10.1007/s10461-019-02718-y

Giguere R, Lopez-Rios J, Frasca T, Lentz C, Balán IC, Dolezal C, Rael CT, Brown III W, Sheinfil AZ, Cruz Torres C, Crespo R, Febo I, Carballo-Diéguez A. Use of HIV self-testing kits to screen clients among transgender female sex workers in New York and Puerto Rico. AIDS and Behavior. 2020;24(2):506-515.

Balán IC, Lopez-Rios J, Giguere R, Lentz C, Dolezal C, Cruz Torres C, Brown III W, Crespo R, Sheinfil A, Rael CT, Febo I, Carballo-Diéguez A. Then we looked at his results: Men who have sex with men from New York City and Puerto Rico report their sexual partner’s reactions to receiving reactive HIV self-test results. AIDS and Behavior. 2020; 24(9): 2597-2605. doi: 10.1007/s10461-020-02816-2

Brown III W, Lopez-Rios J, Sheinfil A, Frasca T, Cruz-Torres C, Crespo R, Dolezal C, Giguere R, Lentz C, Balán IC, Rael C, Febo I, Carballo-Diéguez A. Text messaging and disaster preparedness aids engagement, re-engagement, retention, and communication among Puerto Rican participants in an HIV self-testing study after Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Journal of Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness. Published online April 8th, 2020. doi:

D'Angelo AB, Lopez-Rios J, Flynn AWP, Holloway IW, Pantalone DW, Grov C. Insurance- and medical provider-related barriers and facilitators to staying on PrEP: results from a qualitative study. Transl Behav Med. 2020 Feb 17:ibz191. doi: 10.1093/tbm/ibz191. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 32065637.

Balán IC, Lopez-Rios J, Dolezal C, Rael CT, Lentz C. Low STI knowledge, risk perception, and concern about infection among men who have sex with men and transgender women at high risk of infection. Sexual Health. 2019;16(6):580-586.

D'Angelo AB, Lopez-Rios J, Flynn AWP, Pantalone DW, Holloway IW, Grov C. What motivates gay and bisexual men to participate in PrEP-related research? Int J Sex Health. 2019;31(3):283-290. doi: 10.1080/19317611.2019.1634173. Epub 2019 Jul 12. PMID: 32864033; PMCID: PMC7454037.

Lopez-Rios J, Frasca T, Kindlon MJ, Exner TM, Norcini Pala A, Wainberg ML, Calderon Y, Cotroneo R, Jiménez AA, Remien RH. Limited Knowledge and Lack of Screening for Acute HIV Infection at Primary Care Clinics in High-Prevalence Communities of New York City. AIDS Behav. 2019 Oct;23(10):2870-2878. doi: 10.1007/s10461-019-02527-3. PMID: 31054030; PMCID: PMC6790156.

Martinez O, Wu E, Frasca T, Shultz AZ, Fernandez MI, López Rios J, Ovejero H, Moya E, Chavez Baray S, Capote J, Manusov J, Anyamele CO, López Matos J, Page JS, Carballo-Diéguez A, Sandfort TG. Adaptation of a Couple-Based HIV/STI Prevention Intervention for Latino Men Who Have Sex With Men in New York City. Am J Mens Health. 2017 Mar;11(2):181-195. doi: 10.1177/1557988315579195. PMID: 25846772; PMCID: PMC4593712.

Martinez O, Wu E, Shultz AZ, Capote J, López Rios J, Sandfort T, Manusov J, Ovejero H, Carballo-Dieguez A, Chavez Baray S, Moya E, López Matos J, DelaCruz JJ, Remien RH, Rhodes SD. Still a hard-to-reach population? Using social media to recruit Latino gay couples for an HIV intervention adaptation study. J Med Internet Res. 2014 Apr 24;16(4):e113. doi: 10.2196/jmir.3311. PMID: 24763130; PMCID: PMC4019772.

Click for full list of publications in PubMed