Students receive CROI awards

Three Masters’ students joined the PASER (Pan-African Studies to Evaluate Resistance) research group for internships this year and their hard work has paid off. Today they all received Young Investigator Awards and will present their research at the prestigious CROI 2015 conference in Seattle.

The Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) brings together top researchers from around the world to share the latest studies in the field of HIV/AIDS ( The student projects all relate to long-term outcomes of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in sub-Saharan Africa.

The first abstract, prepared by Bernice Hoenderboom and PhD student Sonia Boender, has been accepted for an oral presentation and investigates the impact of pretreatment drug resistance on outcomes after 3 years on ART. A new finding is that pretreatment drug resistance strongly increases switch to second-line ART, which has important implications for uptake of second-line regimes and allocation of resources.

A second study, by Marieke de Pundert, looks at trends of immunological recovery in patients receiving suppressive ART and finds that the proportion of patients with poor CD4 recovery does not decrease over time, putting these patients at continued risk of HIV-related mortality in spite of a suppressed viral load.

Finally, a third study, by Rimke Bijker, explores determinants of adherence and compares data from Africa and Asia. Suboptimal adherence was found to be more frequent in Africa, compared to Asia. In both regions longer ART duration was associated with better adherence, implying that interventions to improve adherence should particularly target the first year of ART.