Working to Advance
Health Equity in Africa

News

Data collection for Stepping Stones and Creating Futures trial begins

Baseline data collection has begun for cluster randomised control trial to assess whether the Stepping Stones and Creating Futures intervention can reduce men’s perpetration and women’s experience of intimate partner violence (IPV) in urban informal settlements in Durban. Baseline data collection will stretch into 2016 in 32 informal settlements, with a total of 1280 young people recruited into the study. HEARD researcher and the principal investigator on the project Dr Andrew Gibbs said “There’s growing evidence that strengthening women’s economic auton...

Beyond working with men and boys

We need to work with men and boys as become a key mantra of health programmes globally, particularly those concerned with HIV, violence and more recently sexual and reproductive health and rights, and yet there is very little known about how effective these programmes are, nor of the challenges, opportunities and politics of this work. HEARD researcher Dr Andrew Gibbs is the lead editor, alongside Dr Cathy Vaughan (Melbourne University) and Prof Peter Aggleton (Centre for Social Research in Health, UNSW Australia) of a special issue of Culture, Health and Sexualit...

The challenges to antiretroviral adherence among MSM and LGBTI living with HIV in east and southern Africa

“What are the challenges to antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence among Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, and Intersex (LGBTI) living with HIV in east and southern Africa?” This embodies the question formed by MSM and LGBTI community activists who attended an amfAR-organised one and a half day meeting to develop an LGBTI research agenda in 2014. This question, asked by the communities it concerns, is particularly topical given that ‘treatment as prevention’ has become the cornerstone of UNAIDS’s post-2015 global st...

Impact of unsafe abortion in Eastern and Southern Africa

Unsafe abortion is one of the leading causes of maternal mortality and morbidity. Globally, an estimated 47,000 women die from unsafe abortions each year with an additional 5 million injuries occurring as a result of complications due to unsafe procedures (WHO, 2011). These injuries result in short and long term health consequences for women, including infertility and fistula, and have far reaching economic and societal costs. Ninety-eight percent of all unsafe abortions occur in low to middle income countries. It is a particularly pressing health issue for the Af...

HIV has a woman’s face, and AIDS looks like a dying man

Without looking at improving a whole range of sexual and reproductive health services, and without massively scaling up public health system’s ability to help women to prevent HIV the resources currently spent on women, services cannot be said to have much of a long-term impact on gender relations. Last year, the Journal of AIDS published an original research led by Katherine Dovel in which the research group made the following assertion; “AIDS prevalence may have the face of a woman but AIDS mortality has the face of a man.” The research group go on to sugg...

WORLD AIDS DAY 2015: Without ‘Fast Track’ an AIDS ‘perfect storm’ is still possible

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 with the other MDGs, especially with respect to the health and well-being of women and girls. It is important that the headline statistics from the conclusion of MDG6 receive the widest possible circulation; and expressions of satisfaction and gratitude not only have their place bu...

Introducing a new HEARD

With the demand to remain relevant in a changing global health development environment, HEARD has undergone some essential organisational changes. We have a new mission – to be the leading institution in interdisciplinary health research and education in Africa, in order to influence policy and practice to more effectively address Africa’s health challenges. In order to achieve this goal, we’ve expanded and refined our research agenda, focus areas, policy engagements as an applied research centre. Our dynamic research agenda and change in focus are outlined...

Seminar series: understanding the demand for healthcare

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 experiment to determine preferences regarding HIV counselling and testing, and medical male circumcision among adolescents in high schools in rural KwaZulu-Natal.  Click here for more information. About the series: Each week a public talk will be delivered by influential...

Early resumption of sexual intercourse during the MMC healing period

29% of adolescents who were previously sexually active resumed sexual activity during the healing period, had on average two partners and during the healing period used condoms inconsistently Voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) is an integral part of the South African government’s response to the HIV and AIDS epidemic. Following circumcision, it is recommended that patients abstain from sexual activity for six weeks, as sex may increase the risk of female-to-male HIV transmission and prolong the healing period. From 2011-2013, HEARD undertook a study, ...

Treatment adherence: The fly in the ointment in HIV prevention

We have recently seen a spurt of advances in biomedical HIV prevention research. These interventions include circumcision, vaccines, microbicides, pre-exposure prophylaxis and suppressive therapy for herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2) to reduce risks of HIV transmission through sexual intercourse. While these new technologies provide a variety of prevention options, the clinical trial data has been less than promising (with the exception of medical male circumcision - as demonstrated in the three African randomised controlled trials.) This pattern of flat trials was p...