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Studying mother-to-child HIV transmission rates: U of T students travel to Thailand to investigate country's success

Aylin Manduric (left) and Simran Dhunna (right) interview Wiwat Rojanapithayakorn, a key leader in Thailand's 100% Condom Program in 1991 and HIV/AIDS response (photo courtesy of Reach Project)

A team of U of T students took a trip to Thailand this year to research the country's success in reducing the rate of prenatal mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

The team of four students – Simran Dhunna, Aylin Manduric, Joy Dawkins and Andrea Macikunas – spent the 2016-17 academic year researching how Thailand cut down the national rate of HIV transmission from prenatal moms to their babies to less than two per cent over the past 17 years. 

The weeklong trip to Thailand, led by the Reach Project’s principal investigator, Professor Joseph Wong, allowed students to dig a little deeper by conducting one-on-one interviews with various players instrumental in the public health initiative in Bangkok, Phrao and Chiang Mai.

Graduate and undergraduate students can apply to the Reach Project, which is supported by a partnership between the Munk School of Global Affairs and the MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth. The program's goal is to study development initiatives and see if they've made an impact on target populations in the world’s poorest countries.

Read more about the Thailand team