amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

U.S. NIH Renews $10 Million Research Grant to TREAT Asia

For the past 10 years, amfAR’s TREAT Asia program has been leading the Asia-Pacific region’s involvement in the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s (NIH’s) global HIV consortium, IeDEA—the International Epidemiologic Databases to Evaluate AIDS. IeDEA is composed of seven regions that also cover North America, the Caribbean, Central and South America, and sub-Saharan Africa. The consortium has been the core of TREAT Asia’s research program. It is implemented together with the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales, Australia, the program’s data management and biostatistical analysis partner.

Law Sohn 
Dr. Matthew Law (left; Kirby Institute, UNSW Australia) and Dr. Annette Sohn (right), co-Principal Investigators for the IeDEA Asia-Pacific program

amfAR successfully recompeted for funding for a new five-year cycle (2016–2021) that will be supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and for the first time the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

The renewal application includes multiple studies that will be conducted across 58 institutions in 13 countries. The studies will help the program address emerging and critical issues facing people living with HIV who are transitioning from pediatric to adolescent care, and aging into older adults. Future research will evaluate how the risks for chronic diseases such as hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes may differ by HIV status and treatment history.

The new funding will also expand TREAT Asia’s research portfolio to evaluate mental health issues for adolescents, explore how amphetamine use impacts HIV risk behaviors among men who have sex with men and transgender individuals, and enhance the use of eHealth technologies to engage and retain people in treatment programs. An ongoing collaboration with BJ Medical Center–Johns Hopkins University in India will extend to oral cancer research, using mobile phone applications intended to streamline the diagnostic and referral process and improve the quality of care.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to continue our global collaborations, and to our regional networks and many partners for their critical support,” said Dr. Annette Sohn, Director of TREAT Asia and co-Principal Investigator on the grant. “Our overall objective for the IeDEA Asia-Pacific program is to answer research questions that will guide clinicians and policy makers on how we can improve treatment delivery as well as prevent comorbidities and new HIV infections.”