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Annie Lyerly and Kristen Sullivan have been awarded an R01 from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) to develop empirically informed guidance for conducting ethically responsible HIV/co-infections research with pregnant adolescents.  Pregnant adolescents face synergistic challenges in the context of HIV – heightened risk of maternal infection, vertical transmission, and maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality compared to adult women living with HIV – and a largely absent evidence base to inform prevention and treatment strategies. This project seeks to address a key constraint fueling this scientific void — questions and confusions around the ethical permissibility of including pregnant adolescents in research. Through qualitative research and iterative engagement with diverse stakeholders, together with scholarly ethical and regulatory analysis, this project aims to identify a clear path forward for HIV/co-infections research with this critical and neglected group. Co-investigators on the project include Dr. Stuart Rennie (UNC Social Medicine), Dr. Irving Hoffman (UNC Division of Infectious Diseases), Dr. Chifundo Zimba (UNC Project Malawi), and Dr. Mary Kasule (Botswana-Baylor Children’s Clinical Centre for Excellence), and collaboration with Dr. Chelsea Morroni (University of Edinburgh & Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership) and Dr. Cathy Slack (University of KwaZulu-Natal).

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