Meet the CIPHER grantees

Tavitiya Sudjaritruk

Year awarded: 2014
Institution: Department of Paediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University, and Research Institute for Health Sciences, Chiang Mai University
Research site: Department of Paediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University, and Research Institute for Health Sciences, Chiang Mai University
Primary mentor: Thanyawee Puthanakit, Department of Paediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University and HIVNAT, Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Centre

Tavitiya Sudjaritruk is a Paediatric Infectious Diseases Specialist at the Department of Paediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University, Thailand. Her research interests are focused on HIV/AIDS in paediatrics and adolescents.

More information on Tavitiya | Email

“As a CIPHER grantee, I have had several opportunities to apply for and get other grants to conduct new studies focusing on non-communicable diseases among children and adolescents living with HIV … Because I have had experience as a PI conducting the study supported by CIPHER, they can be assured that I will be able to lead these studies and make them successful.”

Research project: Liver injury and long-term metabolic complications among children living with perinatally acquired HIV and adolescents receiving antiretroviral therapy

The issue

Very few studies have evaluated the burden and associated risk factors of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and long-term metabolic complications among perinatally children and adolescents living with HIV while receiving successful ART. Data that exists are mostly from resource-rich countries.

The CIPHER project

This study was aimed at filling research gaps about the burden, impact and relationships of liver disease and metabolic syndrome on ART-experienced children and adolescents living with HIV, especially in resource-constrained countries. It was conducted in Thailand and Indonesia, building on data collected as part of the prospective observational cohort called the TREAT Asia Paediatric HIV Observational Database (TApHOD), which has collected data on demographic characteristics, clinical information and treatment outcomes of children with HIV in Thailand and other Asian countries

Dr Sudjaritruk’s study showed that prevalence of NAFLD is high (23%) in adolescents living with perinatally acquired HIV, but all are asymptomatic.

The impact

Her team set up guidelines to perform yearly check-ups of liver enzymes and metabolic profiles for all children and adolescents living with HIV at their clinic; this helps staff screen for individuals suspected of having NAFLD, and thus link them to get early diagnosis and appropriate treatment or interventions. The extended phase to follow disease progression is supported with funds from the Research Institute for Health Sciences, and is under review for publication.

Knowledge gained through CIPHER and subsequent related research helps in prompt diagnosis and treatment for non-infectious hepatic complications, as well as preventing long-term, irreversible consequences that can increase morbidity and mortality, and decrease quality of life into adulthood.