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Short item Published on September 14, 2017

Progress in HIV science illuminated at the IAS2017 conference

The biennial International AIDS Society (IAS) Conference on HIV Science was held in Paris, France in July 2017. This article presents some of the highlights of the conference, including the roll of PrEP and the promise of long-acting injectable ARVs, as well as contributions of SACEMA staff in the areas of HIV and Hepatitis C, and HIV and cervical cancer. Basic, clinical, epidemiological and operational research on HIV and the HIV response must continue to be prioritised even while we strengthen our health systems and improve the implementation of existing interventions.

Short item Published on September 14, 2017

SACEMA Research Days 2017

SACEMA’s 11th annual ‘Research Days’ meeting took place over four days 21 – 24 August 2017, in Stellenbosch. All SACEMA funded students and their supervisors were invited, together with some associates and collaborators. The meeting included training workshops, keynote talks, formal research presentations, student and supervisor forums, and a debate.

Short item Published on June 15, 2017

Context-specific interventions needed for sex workers

: In the context of an implementation research project, aiming at better aligning targeted services with the general health services, we conducted cross-sectional surveys among a representative sample of female sex workers (FSWs) in four cities. We explored, through structured face-to-face interviews, where FSWs procure commodities and services for sexual and reproductive health. We compared service utilization across the four cities and assessed if it was significantly different.

Short item Published on June 15, 2017

The excitement and challenges of introducing an introductory course

Two months ago Lander Willem and I organized the first edition of the short course “Individual-based modelling in epidemiology: A practical introduction”. The feedback at the end of the course was overwhelmingly positive, which left us feeling empowered and encouraged to not leave it at this first edition. Participants of the next edition should expect an even more hands-on course, with more time to acquire skills in developing, exploring and fitting individual-based models.

Short item Published on March 15, 2017

The devil in the details: A comparison of demographics and behaviours of female sex workers in Johannesburg and Pretoria

This study clearly shows the diversity of sex workers (SWs) and their varying HIV treatment needs in the workplace and at home. Standard treatment guidelines could therefore fall short of their intention to reduce vulnerability to poor health outcomes if a non-differentiated approach to care is followed. Trained staff who are sensitised to the local medical, emotional and legal needs of SWs are able to create user friendly services that encourage these vulnerable women to utilise services.

Short item Published on March 15, 2017

Age-disparate relationships and HIV transmission: not as simple as it may seem

Interventions to curb age-disparate relationships (ADR) are ongoing in spite of conflicting evidence that ADR are a risk factor for HIV transmission. There is a real need to explore the prevalence of ADR and understand what they mean for HIV transmission. We must first understand and describe these relationships; second, establish a causal relationship with HIV. We recently published a paper that explores those objectives in a population of 1,922 adult men and women living in Likoma Island, Malawi.

Short item Published on March 15, 2017

Beyond risk compensation: Clusters of antiretroviral treatment users in sexual networks can modify the impact of ART on HIV incidence

Early initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) significantly improves the survival of people living with HIV (PLWH) and reduces HIV transmission to uninfected partners. Mathematical models suggest that treatment-as-prevention programmes could lead to HIV elimination. How the clinical efficacy of ART in preventing HIV transmission translates to real-life settings depends in large part on the capacity of HIV programmes to engage and retain PLWH. The effects of ART on HIV incidence may also depend on changes in sexual network dynamics during the course of ART scale-up which are discussed in this article.

Short item Published on December 9, 2016

Sexual debut – An analysis of the Birth to Twenty data

Despite the importance of youth sexual behaviour for sexual and reproductive health and the severity of the HIV/AIDS there is relatively little empirical research on factors affecting the age at sexual debut in South Africa. In my dissertation I used survival analysis techniques to identify significant predictors of early sexual debut in a South African context. The results may assist in devising strategies and action plans to be used to educate adolescents in making informed and safe decisions regarding sexual debut.

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