International AIDS Society

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Collaborative Initiative for Paediatric HIV Education and Research (CIPHER)

CIPHER Grant Programme | CIPHER Map of Paediatric HIV Cohorts


The Collaborative Initiative for Paediatric HIV Education and Research (CIPHER) is a major paediatric research initiative of the International AIDS Society’s (IAS) aimed at addressing outstanding research gaps related to clinical management and delivery of services to infants, children and adolescents affected by HIV in resource-limited settings. CIPHER was officially launched in 2012 and is supported by an unrestricted grant from the ViiV Healthcare’s Paediatric Innovation Seed Fund. The content and structure of the project is guided by paediatric experts convened by the IAS.

The key objectives of CIPHER are:
  • Promoting and investing in targeted research to address knowledge gaps/priority questions to optimize service delivery and clinical management of infants and children in resource-limited settings.
  • Convening stakeholders and establishing collaboration mechanisms to strengthen communication, knowledge transfer and exchange among paediatric HIV cohorts.


CIPHER is designed to complement existing global initiatives and create partnerships with other organizations to maximize investment in paediatric HIV research and improve paediatric health outcomes. The first phase of the project consisted of building a solid scientific and programmatic foundation. A comprehensive needs assessment was conducted, including a literature review and key informant interviews with experts, which outlined a set of research priorities that has been used to inform and guide CIPHER.

Programme activities

CIPHER activities are strategically developed in collaboration with a Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee of paediatric HIV experts and are based on the findings of the needs assessment. These activities include:
Rationale for the CIPHER initiative

There has been notable progress in reducing vertical transmission of HIV: 57% of pregnant women with HIV accessed treatment for prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) at the end of 2012 compared with 48% in 2010. Despite this progress, 3.3 million children are living with HIV worldwide and 330,000 were newly infected in 2011.

The paediatric population remains significantly disadvantaged with respect to access to treatment in comparison with adult populations. In addition, there is little data on the effect of antiretroviral therapy (ART) on growth and development of children, nor on how to ensure optimal adherence as they reach adolescence.

There is an urgent need to address outstanding research questions to inform the preparation of guidelines and to improve access to more effective diagnosis, prevention, treatment and care interventions for children and adolescents.

To accelerate the paediatric research agenda, the International AIDS Society (IAS), with the generous support of ViiV Healthcare, has established the Collaborative Initiative for Paediatric HIV Education and Research (CIPHER).

Putting paediatric HIV on the agenda

The IAS has undertaken significant work to define priority clinical and operational research questions for women and children, and to advocate for increased investments in this research agenda as a priority in the work of the IAS’s Industry Liaison Forum (IAS-ILF). An Environmental Scan, Mapping HIV Research Priorities for Women and Children, and the Consensus Statement, Asking the Right Questions: Advancing an HIV Research Agenda for Women and Children, released in January 2010, provided the foundation for the IAS’s ongoing role in promoting and accelerating HIV research relevant to women and children in low- and middle-income countries.

Through CIPHER, the IAS is seizing an opportunity to build on its proven track record in promoting paediatric research, leveraging its role in convening the largest international scientific meetings on HIV/AIDS to address the needs of infants, children and adolescents living with or affected by HIV.



Interactive map of
paediatric HIV cohorts

The interactive map works best in Google Chrome, Safari and Firefox. Some of the features unfortunately do not work in other browsers.

The implementation of this project was made possible through an unrestricted grant from ViiV Healthcare. The content and structure of the project has been guided by paediatric experts convened by the IAS.

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Additional Information

Needs Assessment Report