New awards, expanded focus for Pediatric AIDS Clinical Trials Group

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) today announced $36 million in renewed funding for the Pediatric AIDS Clinical Trials Group (PACTG), and a greater focus on both adolescent research and international pediatric research. The new five-year awards will support 18 university-based clinical trials sites, a statistical and data management center, and a coordinating and operations center.

The PACTG has pioneered key trials evaluating treatments for children with HIV and has made great advances in reducing the rate of mother-to-infant HIV transmission in the developed world. The epidemic among adolescents in the United States, however, has become an increasing concern. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 4,219 cumulative cases of AIDS among adolescents, or children ages 13 through 19, were reported through June 2001,(1) and the number of adolescents living with HIV is estimated to be much higher.

Because the average length of time between HIV infection and the development of AIDS is 10 years, it is believed that many adults became infected as adolescents. Most adolescents infected with HIV are at an early stage of disease and are ideal candidates for early intervention and treatment strategies.

HIV and AIDS also continue to take a devastating toll on women and children in developing countries, where more than 90 percent of all HIV/AIDS cases occur. In 2001, approximately 2.7 million children younger than age 15 were living with HIV/AIDS worldwide, and 580,000 children in this age group died from HIV-associated illnesses or AIDS, according to a UNAIDS report.(2) In addition to the suffering of children, 48 percent of adults living with HIV/AIDS in the world are women, many of whom are of childbearing age.(2) To this end, the PACTG will also directly support clinical research at four international sites, two in South Africa and two in Thailand.

"The Pediatric AIDS Clinical Trials

Contact: Diana K. Carroll
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

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