Media release: HEARD embarks on an extensive research project on young key populations in SADC countries
HEARD embarks on an extensive research project on young key populations in SADC countries, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme and African Men for Sexual Health and Rights
Durban, South Africa | 1 December 2016
HEARD has successfully obtained a large research grant to conduct operational research on young key populations in Angola, Madagascar, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The research is embedded in a larger project that aims to strengthen the legal and policy environment for these groups in order to reduce stigma and discrimination of young key populations and improve their access to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services. Whilst the five countries will feature prominently, the project will engage the SADC region as a whole in its endeavors. HEARD hosted the official launch of the project, bringing the key project staff of UNDP and African Men for Sexual Health and Rights (AMSHeR) as well as a core team of HEARD researchers together, at its offices on the Westville Campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal. In the next four years, HEARD will conduct different pieces of research in-country as well as across countries covering key thematic areas that concern young key populations, such as exclusion, gender identity, risk behavior, violence and service barriers.
Young key populations in Southern Africa face significant barriers to accessing HIV and SRH services. Many of these barriers originate from country laws and policies that are punitive, discriminatory, conflicting and restrictive. Criminalisation of same-sex relationships, age restrictive laws prohibiting young people’s access to HIV testing, contraceptives, abortion and SRH services (or only with parental consent) and restrictive policies on provision.
In order to improve HIV/SRH outcomes in young key populations, HIV/SRH legal, policy and strategy environments for young key populations need to be strengthened and monitored. This project seeks to support national governments in reviewing and reforming country laws and policies and to facilitate citizen input and accountability for implementation.
The underlying theory of change is that effective and sustainable responses for HIV/SRH will require a reduction of the stigma associated with HIV/SRH and most affected populations, a legal environment that is gender-sensitive and that enables access to and use of key prevention, treatment services and commodities and the political will to include and protect marginalized (young) key populations in policy and governance. The long-term objective of the project is to of SRH commodities in schools and prisons.improvesexual and reproductive health outcomes for young key populations in SADC countries. At medium-term, the project seeks to strengthen HIV/SRH related rights of young key populations in law, policy and strategy in five SADC Countries. The project focuses on young sex workers of all genders, young men who have sex with men, young lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people, young people who inject drugs and young prisoners.
Under Professor Poku, a HEARD core team of highly qualified and experienced researchers will undertake baseline studies in each of the five countries, collaborating with local research institutions and project partners on the ground. One of the objectives of this baseline is to identify research gaps as well as the most pertinent questions for the operational research component of the project. The operational research will take place in each of the five countries on context-specific questions, whilst cross-cutting themes will serve as a basis for cross-country research and comparative analyses. As this type of research on young key populations in the five countries is very limited, HEARD seeks to proactively share the knowledge and resources derived from this project – as well as other ongoing research projects of HEARD on SRHR – through a portal with a wider audience. Its core researchers will contribute to the portal on a regular basis, aiming to build up country profiles of the SRHR and young key populations contexts that scientists, policy makers, non-governmental organizations, but also students, can use to rapidly increase their knowledge on these issues. HEARD will make more information on this portal available in due course.
Our internship programme is designed to integrate and complement your academic studies by providing you with the opportunity to participate in programme-related research. We inspire interest and draw out passion for research by providing a firm foundation for your career. We are looking for ...>>
December 1 marked World AIDS Day. A brief moment reflection our recent achievements in the fight against HIV and AIDS point to some significant victories. Globally, we have more scientific knowledge on how the virus is transmitted with prevention and treatment options being tailored to suit ...>>
ARV treatment on the rise, but UN urges urgent action as thousands of young women continue to be infected with HIV. The number of HIV-infected people taking anti-retroviral (ARV) medicine has doubled in just five years, the United Nations said while highlighting high infection rates among young ...>>
HEARD’s Scholarship Programme aims to emphasise the mastery of quantitative and qualitative methods for understanding policy problems and for devising, evaluating and/or implementing policy solutions. The aim of providing PhD scholarships is to produce expertly qualified graduates to advise or ...>>
Frank Tanser shares results from a population-based cohort in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa on the application of geospatial analyses to reveal targets for intervention
Frank Tanser an infectious disease epidemiologist with specialist expertise in geographical information systems technology, shares results from a population-based cohort in rural KZN, on the application of geospatial analyses to reveal targets for intervention. About the speaker: Frank Tanser ...>>
The case of voluntary male medical circumcision roll out in South Africa A promising HIV prevention strategy aimed specifically at young men is voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC), as men who have been medically circumcised are 60% less likely to contract HIV through male to female ...>>
It is now possible for antiretroviral therapy (ART) to reduce viral load of HIV to the point where an infected person is no longer, or much less, infectious to others. As a result, ‘treatment as prevention’ has become the cornerstone of UNAIDS’s post-2015 global strategy to end AIDS by 2030. As ...>>
HEARD’s research director Dr Govender was recently awarded a National Research Foundation and Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education research capacity building grant to forge systematic research on health systems and HIV in Eastern and Southern ...>>
Prof Nana Poku | HEARD’s Executive Director The UNAIDS Fast-Tracking to Zero Strategy is on its own a large and rightly ambitious undertaking, building on the success of the fifteen-year span of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). MDG 6 was closely related to, and broadly consonant ...>>
This week, health economics researcher Mike Strauss, discusses the importance of understanding and creating demand for healthcare services, especially in the context of scaling up HIV prevention and treatment interventions in South Africa. The talk will draw on evidence from a discrete choice ...>>