Global WACh

August 10, 2018

Global WACh Attends 2018 AIDS Conference in Amsterdam

The International Aids Society hosted the 22nd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2018) in Amsterdam from July 23-27, 2018.  This year, the conference objectives focused on advancing knowledge of HIV through research findings, promoting evidence-based HIV responses tailored to key populations, activating and galvanizing political commitment and accountability, addressing gaps in and highlighting the critical role of HIV prevention, as well as spotlighting the epidemic and HIV response in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Global WACh faculty, staff, student research assistants, and international collaborators had a strong presence at the conference to share and discuss a number of selected abstracts.  In total, 12 members attended, with four selected abstracts for oral presentations and seven poster abstracts at AIDS 2018.  Some members participated in the pre-conference event, the 10th Workshop on HIV Pediatrics from July 20-21, where eight selected poster abstracts were featured.

Global WACh researchers at the HIV Pediatrics Workshop, a pre-conference event to the International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam. Pictured from top left to right: Grace John-Stewart, Anjuli Wagner, Danae Black, Kristin Beima-Sofie, Irene Nujunga. From bottom left to right: Cyrus Mugo and Dr. Keshet Ronen


Researchers at the HIV Pediatrics Workshop Posterwalk:

Rabi Yunusa, MPH student, at the Pediatrics HIV Workshop posterwalk.

  • HIV-exposed uninfected children have poorer neurocognitive outcomes than HIV-unexposed children (Rabi Yunusa, MPH Student)
    This abstract compared neurocognitive outcomes in HIV-exposed uninfected (HEU) and HIV-unexposed uninfected (HUU) school-aged children in Kenya. The results show that HEU children had significantly lower processing speed, memory, and attention scores.

Danae Black, Epidemiology PhD student, at the Pediatrics HIV workshop.

  • Intensified case finding and tuberculosis preventive treatment among HIV-infected adolescents in Kenya (Danae Black, Epidemiology PhD student)
    Danae’s descriptive research methods aim to quantify tuberculosis (TB) symptom screening and isoniazid (an antiobiotic used to treat and prevent TB) preventative treatment use which is not well quantified in Kenya.
  • PrEP uptake among pregnant and postpartum women: results from a large implementation program (Dr. John Kinuthia, MBChB, Kenyatta National Hospital, Kenya)
    This abstract was also selected as an oral presentation at the IAS main stage (see summary below).
  • Newly diagnosed HIV-infected children: a unique index case to improve HIV diagnosis and linkage to care of parents (Jillian Neary, MPH, Study Coordinator)
    The abstract’s conclusions can inform interventions to improve testing, diagnosis, and linkage to HIV care for previously undiagonsed parents of newly diagnosed HIV-infected children.

Drs. Kristin Beima-Sofie and Irene Njunga discuss their poster, “Transitioning adolescents to adult HIV care: Health facility models of care and transition practices in Kenya” at the HIV Pediatrics Workshop.

  • Transitioning adolescents to adult HIV care: Health facility models of care and transition practices in Kenya (Dr. Irene Njuguna, MBChB, Kenyatta National Hospital; Epidemiology PhD Student)
    The abstract described the varying models of care and transition practices among health care facilities that serve adolescents moving to adult HIV care. Developing a consensus in uniform high quality care can help improve the health of this population and lower HIV transmission.
  • Cofactors of mortality among hospitalized HIV infected children newly initiating ART in Kenya (Dr. Irene Njuguna, MBChB, Kenyatta National Hospital; Epidemiology PhD Student)
    This abstract highlighted the need to rapidly identify HIV-infected children who are hospitalized for acute infectious diseases, such as pneumonia and tuberculosis, and initiate HIV treatment before symptoms of the disease worsen. This strategy can improve the chances of survival among this vulnerable population.
  • Adolescent-specific provider training and provision of services is associated with retention in Kenyan HIV clinics (Dr. Kate Wilson, PhD, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Global Health; with Cyrus Mugo, MBChB, University of Nairobi, Kenya
    This abstract was also featured at AIDS Conference (see summary below).

Dr. Keshet Ronen presents her poster at the Pediatrics HIV Workshop.

  • Youth perspectives on and access to a WhatsApp-based HIV treatment support tool in Nairobi, Kenya (Dr. Keshet Ronen, PhD, Research Scientist, Global Health)
    This abstract highlighted the desires among youth living with HIV for a free-form communication platform with peers to provide emotional, instrumental, and companionship support. This is a promising strategy to connect this population to health education, motivation and behavioral skills for ART adherence, and social support.






Oral presentations given by Global WACh researchers at AIDS 2018:




  • Dr. John Kinuthia, MBChB, a long-time collaborator from Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, also presented on the success of the PrIYA program in “PrEP uptake among pregnant and postpartum women: results from a large implementation program.” In total, they conducted 9,704 assessments among pregnant/postpartum clients for behavioral risk factors and willingness to consider PrEP.  1,856 (19%) of encounters led to PrEP initiation and PrEP initiators tended to be younger and more likely to have HIV risk factors than those who declined PrEP.



Dr. Keshet Ronen presenting at AIDS 2018.






Selected abstract posters by Global WACh researchers at AIDS 2018: