Meet the CIPHER grantees

Degu Jerene Dare

Year awarded: 2013
Institution: Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
Research site: Addis Ababa University
Primary mentor: Andrea Ruff, Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health

Degu Jerene Dare is a medical doctor with a PhD in international public health and with a focus on HIV treatment in resource-limited settings. He established one of the earliest HIV treatment centres in Ethiopia.

More information on Degu | Email

“The CIPHER funding has had positive impact on my future research and career development … This project has contributed to stimulating global and local interest in adolescent HIV research.”

Research project: Antiretroviral treatment outcomes among adolescents living with HIV in Ethiopia

The issue

Adolescents living with HIV in resource-limited settings make up a significant proportion of people living with HIV globally. Many adolescents acquire HIV sexually, and with improved availability of effective treatment, a considerable number of children living with perinatally acquired HIV also grow to adolescence. However, little is known about clinical outcomes for these adolescents.

Some studies have found poorer adherence, higher virological failure and higher loss to follow-up rates in adolescents than in adults while others found no significant differences in outcome.

The CIPHER project

The overall aim of Dr Dare’s CIPHER research was to understand factors affecting clinical outcomes among adolescents living with HIV attending public health HIV treatment centres in Ethiopia. The intentions were to:

  • Better delineate clinical outcomes of adolescents living with HIV
  • Identify factors associated with differing outcomes within the adolescent age group, and between adolescents and other age groups
  • Assess the perceptions and suggestions of adolescents living with HIV, their guardians and providers about the types of interventions needed to improve outcomes among adolescents living with HIV.

It took the form of a multicentre cohort study in 10 public hospitals, augmented with qualitative interviews and group discussions. The study built on an existing routine cohort follow up and electronic register database system supported by the Johns Hopkins University through PEPFAR funding.

The impact

This study has generated an evidence base to help design adolescent-specific clinical interventions, and has helped build HIV clinical research capacity in participating institutions in Ethiopia. The project supported the work of three Masters students and facilitated collaborations with a paediatric HIV research-focused PhD project with Lund University, Sweden, contributing to institutional capacity development and building a critical mass of HIV researchers focused on adolescents.