July 22, 2018

IAS CIPHER Grants support innovative research to reverse the growing adolescent HIV epidemic

Written by International AIDS Society

This press release originally appeared on the AIDS 2018 website. Reposted with permission.

Sunday, 22 July 2018 (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) – The International AIDS Society’s (IAS’s) Collaborative Initiative for Paediatric HIV Education and Research (CIPHER) will present the 2018 CIPHER Grants to four outstanding early-career investigators working to reverse the high impact of HIV among youth in resource-limited settings.

The CIPHER Grant Programme will provide a total of US$600,000 to support innovative research studies to reduce the impact of HIV among young people.

“Youth represent the fastest-growing population of people living with HIV, but are often among the worst served by healthcare systems,” IAS President Linda-Gail Bekker said. “Youth living with HIV may be separated from family and community support, often lack access to quality care and may experience a particularly heavy burden of stigma and discrimination leading to higher morbidity and mortality. The IAS CIPHER Grants support innovative approaches to improve diagnosis, treatment and service delivery for youth living with HIV.”

CIPHER Grantees for 2018 will be honoured at the Thursday, 26 July, plenary session at the 22nd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2018). The CIPHER Grants provide up to US$150,000 each over two years to support studies selected from proposals received from 26 countries. The recipients of the 2018 CIPHER Grants are:

  • Alain Amstutz, whose project will test several innovative, targeted interventions along the HIV care cascade for adolescents and young adults in Lesotho, the country with second-highest HIV prevalence in the world, and assess their potential to help reach 90-90-90 UNAIDS targets
  • Millicent Atujuna, who will investigate the link between poverty and ART adherence, and identify strategies to improve adherence and retention in care among youth in South Africa
  • Sirinya Teeraananchai, whose project will evaluate approaches to improve the treatment cascade in youth, the fastest-growing population of new HIV infections in Thailand, with the dual objective of improving individual health status and limiting HIV transmission among Thai youth
  • Elona Toska, who will evaluate different healthcare provision models to improve HIV-related outcomes among adolescent mothers living with HIV and their children, and build capacity to optimize health service delivery for adolescent mother-child dyads in South Africa

“We are proud to continue to support these early-career investigators working on innovative research to reduce the disproportionate impact of HIV on young people worldwide,” Helen McDowell, Head of Government Affairs & Global Public Health for CIPHER Founding Sponsor ViiV Healthcare, said. “These research studies play an important part in bringing us closer to a world in which young people living with HIV can experience the same improving opportunities for health and well-being as adults.”

Applications for the next round of CIPHER Grants, which will have a special focus on operational science in paediatric HIV, will open on 1 October 2018. In addition, a new round of awards from CIPHER’s Growing the Leaders of TomorrowFellowship Programme will open on 12 November 2018. That programme provides a mentored fellowship of up to US$70,000 for two years to help build paediatric and adolescent clinical research capacity and leadership in sub-Saharan Africa.

Since 2013, 31 grantees in 13 countries have been awarded these key career grants and fellowships to address critical research gaps in paediatric and adolescent HIV through the CIPHER Grant Programme and the CIPHER Growing the Leaders of Tomorrow Fellowship Programme.