Global research agendas for paediatric and adolescent HIV

With fast-track targets to end paediatric and adolescent AIDS by 2030, evidence is needed to inform global policy change and ensure better outcomes for infants, children and adolescents living with and affected by HIV. Towards this, CIPHER and the WHO have developed global research agendas on HIV testing, treatment and care and support for paediatric and adolescent populations. The aim of the agendas is to provide comprehensive and clear goals to streamline research in these fields and maximize available research resources.  

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In 2016, only 43% of all children living with HIV were accessing antiretroviral treatment (ART), and only 43% of HIV-exposed infants were being tested by the recommended age of two months; 260,000 adolescents became infected with HIV 1. With the successful scale up and effectiveness of ART, more children living with HIV are surviving, growing into adolescence and require ongoing support to remain in care and adhere to ART.

Despite increased attention and commitment to paediatric and adolescent HIV, further efforts are required to ensure that evidence-based interventions and policies comprehensively address the multiple needs of these populations. Funding for research in HIV is changing and is limited due to competing priorities; having research priorities helps focus on maximizing available resources.


The global research agendas were developed using the Child Health and Nutrition Research Initiative (CHNRI2) methodology for setting priorities in health research, and was guided by a working group of experts in paediatric and adolescent HIV3 . The main steps of the research prioritization process included:

  • A broad call for research questions: A survey calling for priority research questions and planned/ongoing studies was sent to a broad range of stakeholders4 .
  • Consolidation: Submitted research questions were cleaned and consolidated through a thematic content analysis.
  • Scoring of the research questions: Respondents to the first survey were asked to score the consolidated lists of research questions against pre-defined CHNRI criteria, resulting in a prioritized list. The complete lists of consolidated research questions for paediatric and adolescent HIV can be accessed here.
  • Expert consultation: To form the final research agenda, an expert consultation of researchers, UN organizations, civil society and community representatives was held to review the top 10 ranked questions for testing, treatment and service delivery in the context of ongoing research, published scientific literature and current WHO guidance. Themes, rather than questions, were used for the final agenda.

1 Rudan I, Gibson JL, Ameratunga, S, El Arifeen, S, Bhutta ZA, et al. Setting priorities in Global Child Health Research Investments: Guidelines for Implementation of the CHNRI Method, Croat Med J, 2008, 49(6): 720-733.

2 The scope of the exercise included testing, treatment and service delivery for adolescents. Preventive interventions were not within the scope of this exercise.

3 Including researchers, policy makers, implementers, healthcare providers, networks of young people living with HIV and community representatives.

4 UNICEF, UNAIDS and WHO, Global AIDS Monitoring 2017.

1st International Paediatric HIV Symposium in Africa - Virtual Symposium 17-18 November 2021




Annual Impact Report 2020

CIPHER Grant Programme
Awards up to $150,000 to early-stage investigators to address critical research gaps in paediatric and adolescent HIV in resource-limited settings.

CIPHER Growing the Leaders of Tomorrow Fellowship
Provides support to young investigators in sub-Saharan Africa on priority research topics in paediatric and adolescent HIV clinical science.

CIPHER Global Cohort Collaboration
Brings together the largest collaboration of paediatric and adolescent HIV observational cohort networks to answer key questions of global public health.

Research agendas for paediatric and adolescent HIV

Research agenda

A global research agenda for paediatric HIV
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A global research agenda for adolescents living with HIV
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