In 2021, MHRP, along with the Armed Forces Research Institute for Medical Sciences (AFRIMS) and the Department of Defense HIV/AIDS Prevention Program (DHAPP), received PEPFAR funding to develop a military-military partnership in the Philippines.
The first activities under this partnership focus on policy assessment, lab strengthening, clinical training, and diagnostic capabilities to improve HIV prevention, testing, treatment and surveillance. These activities are coordinated through the Joint United States Military Assistance Group (JUSMAG)-Philippines as part of the U.S. DoD’s security cooperation partnership with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
In March, the Philippines program, in collaboration with the Victoriano Luna Medical Center TB Clinic, supported a World TB Day Virtual Conference. The half-day seminar featured lectures from senior AFP specialists on topics including burden of TB in the military and impact of COVID-19 on TB control; TB/HIV co-infection and TB preventive therapy; and Destigmatizing TB, HIV and other diseases affecting the military. Over 180 AFP health workers attended the event. The AFP also hosted a World AIDS Day virtual event, which included a presentation from MHRP Director Col. Julie Ake on HIV vaccines.
Headquartered in Bangkok, AFRIMS is a joint undertaking between the U.S. and Thai militaries with satellite surveillance and research sites across Southeast Asia. AFRIMS scientists have performed surveillance and developed diagnostic, preventive, and therapeutic countermeasures against infectious diseases for nearly 60 years. This new PEPFAR initiative will leverage and strengthen the established relationships that WRAIR and AFRIMS have built through the Philippines AFRIMS Virology Research Unit (PAVRU).