Pediatric and MSM Programs Showcased in Sydney
July 2007—Two new programs that are expected to have a significant impact on the fight against HIV/AIDS in Asia were introduced at the 4th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention in Sydney by TREAT Asia and its parent organization, amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research. TREAT Asia’s Pediatric HIV Observational Database (TApHOD) was officially launched at a satellite symposium, followed by a press conference announcing amfAR’s new MSM Initiative.
TApHOD was conceived in November 2006 at the second annual TREAT Asia Pediatric Initiative Network Meeting. Since that time protocols have been established to guide data collection, submission, and analysis, and initial data submission has begun. Currently, four TREAT Asia pediatric clinical centers are participating in the TApHOD study—three in Thailand and one in India. According to TREAT Asia pediatric project manager Joselyn Pang, additional sites in Malaysia, Cambodia, and Viet Nam are expected to submit data next year.
The TApHOD satellite session on Monday 23 July introduced the database during a meeting titled Pediatric HIV/AIDS in Asia: An Outline for Action. Panelists Dr. Lynne Mofenson of the U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and Dr. Nia Kurniati of the Indonesian Department of Child Health discussed the challenges of pediatric HIV in Asia and around the world. The symposium also included a detailed presentation on TApHOD by Dr. Annette Sohn, a member of the TREAT Asia Steering Committee and a professor at the University of California, San Francisco.
amfAR’s new MSM Initiative was also announced at a press conference on 24 July. According to Kevin Frost, director of TREAT Asia and amfAR’s vice president for global initiatives, the MSM (men who have sex with men) program will provide grants to grassroots groups in Africa, Asia, and other resource-poor settings to undertake innovative programs in HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, and care for MSM.
Grants from the amfAR MSM Initiative will also be used to improve communication and increase collaboration among organizations. Through the program, amfAR will support advocacy efforts aimed at increasing public and private funding for HIV/ AIDS prevention and treatment services for MSM and at ending the stigma, discrimination, and violence that threaten the lives of MSM and fuel the spread of HIV/AIDS.