The kickoff of the UW DeRouen Center’s NIH R21 grant entitled “Dynamics of HIV-infection, Oral Innate Immunity and The Development of Oral Diseases in Children” took place in Kisumu, Kenya in February 2023.
The event brought together researchers and healthcare professionals to launch the grant’s research activities. Among the key individuals present were Dr. Ana Lucia Seminario (principal investigator, and Co-PI with Dr. Whasun Chung), Dr. Arthur Kemoli, (Kenyan site director), Dr. Immaculate Opondo (study coordinator), Maureen Aluoch (research assistant) Mercyline Muhonja (research assistant), and Dr. Caitlin Fehlinger, (pediatric dental resident). Our dedicated team spent four days testing and initiating the grant at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital in Kisumu.
Oral diseases are among the most prevalent non-communicable diseases worldwide. Despite significant successes in the treatment for HIV, children with HIV continue to experience more oral diseases compared to uninfected children. This exploratory study assesses the extent to which HIV infection influences the occurrence and progression of oral diseases among HIV/AIDS Kenyan children and to create research capacity in global oral health.
The kickoff event in Kisumu was an exciting milestone for the DeRouen Center, marking the beginnings of oral health HIV research in western Kenya.