Ugandan HIV/AIDS researcher wins an award

By Henry Neondo in Sydney

A Ugandan researcher, Apollo Basenero was awarded yesterday at the ongoing 4th International AIDS Society on Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention in Sydney, Australia for his work in clinical research, treatment and care.

Dr Basenero's name was among the seven researchers announced yesterday by the International AIDS Society (IAS) to two prestigious scientific awards, to be presented at plenary sessions during the conference. He was co-awarded the award together with Marcello Pinti of Italy.

The awards recognize young scientists involved in innovative HIV/AIDS research throughout the world.

"These awards not only recognize significant scientific accomplishments, but they also draw the world’s attention to some of the most promising researchers working in HIV/AIDS in the world," said IAS President Pedro Cahn. "The quality of work represented by the 2006 awardees is remarkable," he said.

The first of the award, the International AIDS Society Prize award was co-sponsored by the Agence Nationale de Recherches sur le SIDA (ANRS), the French national agency for research on AIDS and viral hepatitis, and the IAS.

The awards recognize young researchers who demonstrate excellence in the area of research programmes related to the scale-up of prevention and treatment services in resource-limited settings.

"Conducting meaningful research in the parts of the world most impacted by HIV/AIDS contributes to a richer global understanding of the epidemic," said Jean-Francois Delfraissy, Director of the ANRS.

"The young investigators from developing countries who have been honoured by this prize are making a significant contribution towards eradicating it."

According to a statement from the organisers, IAS, the presenting authors of the winning abstracts must be under 35 years of age and must be a citizen of a non-OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) country.

Also, the research considered for the award must have been carried out in a non-OECD country.
The second, the Young Investigator Awards, in which Dr Basenero won, is given to a researcher no older than 35 years of age with the highest scoring abstract in each of the conference’s three scientific tracks.

"Among the thousands of excellent abstracts we received for IAS 2007, the research of the Young Investigator Award winners really stands out," said IAS President Pedro Cahn. "I think the work of these young leaders will contribute enormously to scientific progress on HIV/AIDS."
Dr Basenero completed his bachelors of medicine and surgery at Makerere University, Kampala (1996-2001).

During 2001 to 2002, he completed an internship at Mulago Hospital in Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynaecology and from 2002 to 2004, he was an expatriate medical officer in Eritrea working in the National Referral hospital Italibet.

In 2005 he completed a course in management of HIV/AIDS and was a Medical Officer Coordinator of HIV Dementia Study in Uganda researching the effect of Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy, HAART on patients with HIV Cognitive Impairment.

In 2006 Apollo enrolled for a masters in public health at the Institute of Public Health at Makerere University.

Since March 2005 he has worked as a medical officer at the Infectious Diseases Institute Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Apollo has also been the coordinator of the ‘Switch meeting’ for the past two years where suspected ART failing patients are discussed and decisions made on their management.

His winning abstract was titled : Inadequacy of clinical and immunological criteria in identifying virologic failure of 1st line ART: the Ugandan experience

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