CSIR to research sun's effects on Aids

2012-05-29 21:46
Pretoria - Researchers are going to investigate how extreme sun exposure affects general health and HIV/Aids among South Africans, an expert said on Tuesday.

"Little attention has been paid to the human health impacts of sun exposure, specifically solar ultraviolet [UV] radiation exposure and appropriate measures to prevent them in South Africa," said Caradee Wright, of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

"The CSIR has many unanswered questions in this area of research, especially in Africa among different ethnic groups, for example the implications for HIV and Aids."

Wright is attached to the natural resources and the environment section of the CSIR, where the research programme was launched in Pretoria on Tuesday.

Unfamiliar diseases

With the main effects of solar UV radiation being skin cancers, ocular diseases and immune suppression, the research programme aimed to discover unfamiliar diseases and how to prevent them among South Africans.

The launch began with a seminar, where researchers and other interested parties could share their interests, knowledge and problems.

Cape Town University lecturer Lester Davids, whose research focuses on the use of skin as a model to understand underlying biological mechanisms of skin cancers, discussed the state of skin cancer in South Africa.

He said with South Africa second to Australia when it came to skin cancer, it was important for dark-skinned people to start caring for and protecting their skins.

"I think it’s something that we need to address, particularly in this country, that the incidence of melanoma in people with darker skins is on the increase, because people feel that with a darker skin they are inherently more protected and don't need sunscreen or some other form of protection."

He said he was sure there were hundreds more South Africans who were dying from skin cancer besides the reported 700 a year.

Solar radiation

Katlego Ncongwane of the SA Weather Services said data showed South Africa was experiencing increased solar radiation.

"There has been an abrupt increase of solar radiation in the past decade," she said.

She could not quantify the increase, but said it was placing South Africans at a high risk of chronic sun exposure.

Optometrist Mark Nagle said it was vital for people to be educated on factors which resulted in blindness, including the dangers of UV exposure.

"Cataract is the leading cause of blindness in South Africa and is responsible for about 50% of the prevalence of blindness - and this should be regarded as a national priority," said Nagle.

Wright said the research programme would investigate the effects of exposure to solar UV radiation across all population groups.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    csir  |  hiv aids  |  health  |  research

linking and moving

2015-04-22 07:36

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

Major Payne as Ireland lose star centre
LIVE: Samoa v Scotland
Jones: Japan can be 'team of the tournament'
LIVE: Australia v Wales
Traffic Alerts

The phrase for today is:”Out of the blue.” Expect the unexpected and work with the changeable energy. Your intuition is heightened...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.