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VU research shines at international AIDS meet

Aug. 2, 2012, 9:22 AM

Vanderbilt University’s Vikrant Sahasrabuddhe, M.D., MPH, DrPH, received the IAS/ANRS Young Investigator Award at the International AIDS Conference last week in Washington, D.C.

The $2,000 award, jointly funded by the International AIDS Society and the French National Agency for Research on AIDS and Viral Hepatitis (ANRS), is given to young scientists “who demonstrate innovation, originality, rationale and quality in the field of HIV/AIDS research.”

VU’s Vikrant Sahasrabuddhe, M.D., MPH, DrPH, right, receives the IAS/ANRS Young Investigator Award from Elly Katabira, president of the International AIDS Society, during the International AIDS Conference last week.

Sahasrabuddhe was among more than 30 Vanderbilt faculty members, trainees and affiliated staff who contributed to research presented at the conference.

Sten Vermund, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health (VIGH), contributed to 10 poster exhibits, participated in two panel discussions and attended a White House reception that celebrated progress in the fight against AIDS.

Sahasrabuddhe, assistant professor of Pediatrics and a VIGH investigator, is well known for his contributions to the early detection and prevention of cervical cancer caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV) in HIV-infected women in resource-poor settings.

The Young Investigator Award was given for an abstract he presented at the conference about HPV-induced anal cancer in HIV-positive men who have sex with men. With prolonged life expectancy due to antiretroviral therapy (ART), the risk of cancer has increased in this population and there is a pressing need for evidence-based prevention approaches.

On an academic leave since 2010, Sahasrabuddhe has been a research fellow at the Hormonal and Reproductive Epidemiology Branch of the National Cancer Institute.

Several posters presented at the conference summarized research conducted by Friends in Global Health, a Vanderbilt affiliate working with local government and civil sector organizations in Mozambique and Nigeria to implement sustainable health development programs, including AIDS prevention and treatment.

Vanderbilt researchers also contributed to the following reports:

More than a quarter of HIV-infected children enrolled in ART programs in rural Mozambique died within two years. Efforts are under way to improve early diagnosis and treatment initiation.

The prevalence of HIV infection among Chinese men who have sex with men jumped from about 1 percent in 2000 to nearly 8 percent a decade later. Unless enhanced prevention interventions are implemented, HIV prevalence in this group may reach 25 percent by 2020.

In the United States, federally funded AIDS Drug Assistance Programs provide ART to eligible low-income people who are infected with HIV. Supplemental state funding varies widely. Where there is no additional state funding, individuals were slower to begin ART.

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