The CIHR Canadian HIV Trials Network: 32 years strong in improving prevention, treatment and management for people living with HIV in Canada through the implementation of high-quality research


BACKGROUND: Since 1990, The CIHR Canadian HIV Trials Network (CTN) has been a partnership of researchers, people living with HIV, governments, health advocates, and industry committed to advancing prevention, treatment, and management of HIV, HCV, and STTBIs. We will provide an overview of CTN's successes, lessons learned, challenges and future opportunities as Canada works diligently to reach all of our 90-90-90 targets.
DESCRIPTION: By conducting trials on the treatments of HIV, the Network developed research cores to address immunotherapy and vaccines; comorbidities; coinfections; and HIV prevention. This includes community-based and culturally appropriate treatment.
The CTN address research gaps and priorities by: funding pilot studies; developing research with community; scientific and community review of studies; accountable resource allocation; meeting semi-annually; an international External Advisory Committee; providing research support services; and employing virtual technologies.
LESSONS LEARNED: Lessons learned include:

  1. Training: The Postdoctoral Fellowship Program has now trained over 100 fellows, many of whom lead the Network and continue to conduct research.
  2. Community Engagement: The Community Advisory Committee is an embedded that became a model for community engagement for other networks. We have community led Community Engagement Teams.
  3. Funding Innovation: An inclusive research agenda to develop and Supporting investigator-initiated studies.
  4. Funding for Pilot Studies: We provide junior investigators with funding for high-risk, preliminary studies to build skills, generate data, and make them more competitive in national funding competitions.
  5. Guidelines and Long-Term HIV Management: The Network supports guideline development (e.g. PrEP) and studies focused on managing comorbidity, coinfections, and aging.
  6. Enhancing Infrastructure: As studies complexity increases, the Network supports investigators with experts to file Health Canada trials and trial monitors.

CONCLUSIONS: Next steps include:
  1. Embracing international collaborations for larger sample size clinical trials and building expertise in implementation science particularly around coinfections, comorbidities, and a broader STBBI mandate.
  2. Concentrate populations with less favourable outcomes, such as Indigenous communities, people who use drugs, and people aging with HIV to reach our 90:90:90 goals.
  3. Using decentralized trials, virtual appointments, and in-home procedures introduced by COVID-19 to co-create participant-centric and trauma-informed research studies.
  4. A commitment to anti-racism/anti-colonialism Network policies and structures.
  5. Increasing support to investigators to eliminate study administrative burden.

Download the e-Poster (PDF)