Dr Janan Dietrich

Dr Janan Dietrich

Janan Dietrich is an award-winning social science researcher with extensive experience in paediatric and adolescent populations. Dr Dietrich is the lead social scientist at the Perinatal HIV Research Unit in Soweto, Johannesburg, with a postdoctoral career development award through the Health Systems Research Unit of the South African Medical Research Council.

“It is such a privilege to be a CIPHER Fellow ... to be able to receive career development mentorship from a leading expert in adolescent HIV. Young women are the centre of the HIV epidemic in South Africa. I am able to use my CIPHER Fellowship to better understand how to ensure that the 90-90-90 goals are achieved for adolescent girls and young women living with HIV.”

Research project: An investigation of factors associated with viral suppression among adolescent girls and young women living with HIV and participating in the HERStory Study in six South African districts

The issue

Young women remain disproportionately affected by HIV with the highest incidence in adolescent girls and young women aged 15-24 years. In the last national HIV prevalence survey, 5.8% of 15-19-year-old and 15.6% of 20-24-year-old girls and young women sampled were living with HIV. It is critical to better understand factors that are associated with ART adherence through the use of an objective biomarker (viral suppression).

The CIPHER project

Dr Dietrich’s CIPHER project is located within the HERStory Study, a national evaluation of a three-year combination prevention programme implemented by a range of government departments and civil society organizations with support from the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC). This intervention was aimed at 10-24-year-old adolescent girls and young women in 10 priority districts. With CIPHER support, Dr Dietrich will utilize existing data from the HERStory baseline cross-sectional survey to identify demographic, behavioural and psychosocial factors associated with viral suppression in adolescent girls and young women living with HIV in six districts in South Africa.

The impact

Through engagement with the Department of Health, SANAC and the Global Fund, Dr Dietrich will utilize her CIPHER project to contribute to improved HIV policy and the design of an intervention to improve treatment and care for adolescent girls and young women living with HIV in South Africa.

Capacity building for Dr Dietrich will include postdoctoral career development mentorship with a focus on implementation science and grant writing.

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