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International AIDS Society (IAS) paediatric HIV research grant winners announced

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Tuesday, 19 July 2016
08:00 SAST

(Durban, SOUTH AFRICA) – Leaders in paediatric HIV research gathering at AIDS 2016 in Durban will honor the winners of the fourth and largest-ever round of IAS research grants, to be presented at the conference plenary session here on Wednesday, 20 July. The awards, which total US$1.2 million, are made through CIPHER, the IAS Collaborative Initiative for Paediatric HIV Education and Research, and will support innovative paediatric HIV research by early-stage investigators working in resource-limited settings.

“Thirty-five years into the epidemic, infants, children, and adolescents still lag far behind adults when it comes to access to HIV treatment, prevention, and support, said International AIDS Society President Chris Beyrer. “CIPHER supports cutting-edge research that brings us closer to closing the gaps between global responses to HIV among adults and paediatric populations.”

The 2016 CIPHER research grant round is the largest in the initiative’s history. Winners of CIPHER 2016 Research Grants were selected from applicants from 25 countries and include:

  • Amara Ezeamama of Nigeria, who will study the long-term survival of school-aged children with perinatal HIV infection and exposure in Uganda.
  • Watsamon Jantarabenjakul of Thailand, who will study neurodevelopmental and neuroanatomical outcomes in young children perinatally infected with HIV and treated with ART, compared to children exposed to HIV but not infected.
  • Gabriel Loni Ekali of Cameroon, who is investigating whether and how the commonly-used antiretroviral drug tenofovir (TDF) impacts kidney function in HIV-exposed uninfected children.
  • McNeil Ngongondo of Malawi, who will perform a pharmacokinetic evaluation of tenofovir (TDF) and atazanavir (ATV) exposure in HIV-exposed breastfeeding infants of mothers taking TDF/3TC/ATV/r.
  • Dorina Onoya of South Africa, for her work on patterns of postpartum maternal clinic attendance and loss to follow-up in relation to paediatric HIV diagnosis and linkage to HIV care.
  • Latoya Small of the United States, whose research will evaluate whether a family intervention called VUKA EKHAYA, consisting of take-home booklets and motivational text messaging, can improve treatment adherence and reduce behavioral risk among perinatally HIV-infected youth in South Africa.
  • Louis Marie Yindom of Cameroon, who is studying a potential treatment for HIV-associated chronic lung disease in vertically-infected children and adolescents.

“Research in paediatric HIV is still falling far short of what is needed to answer critically important questions about how to best care for infants, children, and adolescents affected by the epidemic,” said IAS Executive Director Owen Ryan. “The IAS CIPHER initiative is changing that. We are investing in cutting edge research, cultivating the next generation of paediatric HIV research scientists, helping to change policies in the HIV response, and advocatingto put infants, children, and adolescents affected by HIV high on the global public health agenda.”

“The impact of CIPHER research grants goes beyond the individual findings they generate,” said Helen McDowell, Global Access and Positive Action Director of CIPHER Founding Sponsor ViiV Healthcare. “These grants support research that influence national and international policy, unlocking important additional funding for paediatric research to ultimately impact the lives of infants, children, and adolescents worldwide who are disproportionately impacted by HIV. That’s the kind of bold action we need and the reason we are proud to support the IAS and CIPHER in this investment to reduce the global burden of paediatric HIV.”

CIPHER Partners Highlight Advances and Challenges in Paediatric HIV Throughout AIDS 2016

Innovative new approaches to reduce the disproportionate burden of HIV on infants, children, and adolescents worldwide, and to close the research and information gaps that leave paediatric populations particularly vulnerable to HIV, will take center stage at AIDS 2016 in Durban. CIPHER grantees and collaborators will participate in events throughout AIDS 2016 designed to emphasize both the disproportionate impact of HIV on infants, children, and adolescents, and innovative approaches to close paediatric research and programming gaps worldwide. Highlights include:

The 8th International Workshop on HIV Pediatrics – CIPHER grantees and representatives of the CIPHER Cohort Collaboration, the world’s largest paediatric HIV cohort collaboration, will present their latest findings at this global research forum, the only international conference focused on paediatric HIV, 15-16 July at the Coastlands Umhlanga Hotel & Convention Centre in Durban.

Industry Liaison Forum – CIPHER collaborates with the IAS Industry Liaison Forum to accelerate the development of the most needed paediatric ARV formulations. The ILF brings together industry, advocates, and policy-makers to overcome barriers along the cascade of HIV prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

Every Footstep Counts - CIPHER Manager Marissa Vicari is among the panel of judges in this global competition of community groups making short films documenting how their work is contributing to the end of mother to child HIV transmission in their community. Winners of the competition will be announced at AIDS 2016.

Youth Voices Satellite – “Clinical Models of HIV Care for Adolescents” – (Monday, 18 July, 10:15-12:15, ICC Session Room 9) CIPHER grantees will participate in this satellite symposium, sponsored by IAS Youth Voices, designed to highlight promising clinical care practices for adolescents living with HIV.

Adolescent Treatment Coalition
CIPHER hosts the Adolescent Treatment Coalition, which collaborates with networks of people living with HIV, HIV treatment organizations, youth organizations – including young people living with HIV – researchers, clinicians, and global health agencies to fill urgent gaps in addressing the treatment and care needs of adolescents living with HIV.


About the International AIDS Society (IAS)
Founded in 1988, the International AIDS Society (IAS) is the world’s largest association of HIV professionals, with members from more than 180 countries. IAS members work on all fronts of the global response to AIDS and include researchers, clinicians, policy and programme planners, and public health and community practitioners.For more information visit

Founded in 2012, CIPHER, the Collaborative Initiative for Paediatric HIV Education and Research of the International AIDS Society (IAS), advances global research and information harmonization to impact policies, programmes and practice, and improve the lives the children and adolescents affected by HIV in resource-limited settings worldwide. For more information, visit

About the International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016)
The International AIDS Conference is the largest conference on any global health or development issue in the world. First convened during the peak of the AIDS epidemic in 1985, it continues to provide a unique forum for the intersection of science, advocacy, and human rights. Each conference is an opportunity to strengthen policies and programmes that ensure an evidence-based response to the epidemic. The next International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016) will be held in Durban, South Africa from 16-22 July 2016. For more information, visit

Media Contact:
Mark Aurigemma
[email protected]

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