Gita Ramjee Prize Awarded by the International AIDS Society and The Aurum Institute at the HIV Research for Prevention Conference.

Professor Nelly Mugo, UW Department of Global Health, Kenya Medical Research Institute, and Centre for Clinical Research, Kenya, has received the inaugural Gita Ramjee Prize, which recognizes leading female scientists for outstanding HIV prevention research and demonstration of the principles and practices Ramjee embodied in her life and career: a commitment to evidence, disadvantaged communities and gender transformation.

The Prize was awarded by the International AIDS Society and The Aurum Institute at HIVR4P // Virtual – the HIV Research for Prevention Conference, held January 27-28 and February 3-4, 2021. Organized by IAS – the International AIDS Society – HIVR4P is the only global scientific conference dedicated exclusively to biomedical HIV prevention research. 

“I'm especially honored because this award is named after Gita Ramjee, whom I knew for many years. The award keeps Gita’s work and passion for HIV prevention alive,” said Mugo today, who received the award from Gavin Churchyard of The Aurum Institute at the Conference plenary. “This award was made possible by the combined work of a large team of very committed and dedicated people working on the Tenofovir intravaginal ring study including the UW ICRC team, KEMRI-Kisumu team, CONRAD, CDC, and other partners. My colleagues in KEMRI-Kisumu and colleagues who did the clinical work deserve a great thank you, as do the lab and data teams who worked endlessly to make it possible that we could show that the intravaginal ring is safe and has high probability of efficacy. It's my hope that this will lead to more work in this field, especially with the recent EMA approval of the intravaginal dapivirine ring.”

“The awards program at HIVR4P // Virtual recognizes outstanding HIV prevention research, compelling advocacy to curtail the epidemic, and exceptional commitments to safeguarding the human rights of people impacted by HIV,” said IAS President Adeeba Kamarulzaman of the University of Malaya. “This conference, and these awards, are especially meaningful because they are uniquely focused on the researchers and advocates who are changing the course of this epidemic.”

Professor Mugo is a reproductive health specialist with more than 27 years’ experience, focusing on HIV, sexually transmitted infection and cervical cancer prevention. She was selected for her HVR4P presentation, “Randomized, placebo-controlled trial of safety, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics of 90-day intravaginal rings (IVRs) releasing tenofovir (TFV) with and without levonorgestrel (LNG) among women in Western Kenya,” presented in OA06 Multipurpose prevention technologies (MPTs) for prevention of HIV and pregnancy on Thursday, 28 January at the HIV Research for Prevention Conference.

The Gita Ramjee Prize recognizes Professor Ramjee, a world-renowned scientist who worked tirelessly to find HIV prevention solutions for women, passed away on March 31, 2020 from COVID-19.