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

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.

CIPHER at and around AIDS 2018

On Sunday, 22 July, CIPHER will co-present the 4th HIV Exposed Uninfected (HEU) Child and Adolescent Workshop in Room E102 of the RAI Amsterdam. In high HIV-burden countries, up to 30% of children are now HIV exposed uninfected (HEU). HEU children experience worse outcomes than their unexposed peers. Since 2015, the HEU Child and Adolescent Workshop has provided a unique forum for policy and scientific dialogue around the well-being of HEU children. Read the report of last year’s HEU workshop, recently published in Frontiers in Paediatrics, here

At the HEU workshop, the recipient of the CIPHER 15-month HEU post-doctoral fellowship will be announced. This unique opportunity will be awarded to a rising young investigator from a low- and middle-income country to work with the CIPHER Global Cohort Collaboration on research to improve outcomes for HEU children.

Also at AIDS 2018, CIPHER, in collaboration with the World Health Organization, will publish the methodology and full data on the Global Research Agendas for children and adolescents living with HIV in a Journal of the International AIDS Society supplement: “Mind the Gap: filling knowledge gaps in paediatric and adolescent HIV for an AIDS FREE generation”. The supplement addresses key considerations for implementing the research agendas, including use of observational data to inform policy change, optimizing clinical trials design, modelling and metamodeling, and the role of implementation science, innovation and community engagement.

See the CIPHER at AIDS 2018 Roadmap for a full list of CIPHER activities at and around AIDS 2018.

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About the International AIDS Society: The mission of the International AIDS Society (IAS) is to lead collective action on every front of the global HIV response through its membership base, scientific authority and convening power. Founded in 1988, the IAS is the world’s largest association of HIV professionals, with members from more than 180 countries working on all fronts of the global response to HIV. Together, we advocate and drive urgent action to reduce the global impact of HIV. The IAS is also the steward of the world’s two most prestigious HIV conferences: the International AIDS Conference and the IAS Conference on HIV Science. For more information, visit

About CIPHER: Founded in 2012, the Collaborative Initiative for Paediatric HIV Education and Research (CIPHER) of the International AIDS Society (IAS) is aimed at optimizing clinical management and delivery of services to infants, children and adolescents affected by HIV in resource-limited settings through advocacy and research promotion. For more information, visit

About the International AIDS Conference: The International AIDS Conference is the largest gathering on HIV and AIDS in the world. First convened during the peak of the AIDS epidemic in 1985, it continues to provide a unique forum for the intersection of science, advocacy and human rights. Each conference is an opportunity to strengthen policies and programmes that ensure an evidence-based response to the epidemic. The conference also serves as a focal point to intensify political and financial commitments to AIDS. The 22nd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2018) will be hosted in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on 23-27 July 2018, with the theme, Breaking Barriers Building Bridges. For more information, visit

Media contacts
Mandy Sugrue
IAS Director, Communications
[email protected]