Study in uMgungundlovu to show which HIV programmes work

2014-09-10 00:00

A STUDY to determine the effectiveness of HIV prevention and treatment programmes is in full swing in HIV burdened areas in uMgungundlovu district.

Vulindlela and greater Edendale were identified as areas that need intervention to reduce the number of new HIV infections. This was revealed at the launch of the HIV Incidence Provincial Surveillance System Project (HIPPS) here yesterday.

The study began last month. Investigator, Cherie Cawood said the initiative will give an indication of whether or not the interventions were likely to reduce new infections. “It is imperative that we have community support and that households agree to participate and provide us with accurate and reliable information,” Cawood said.

“It is critical that we reliably measure the burden of HIV, the number of new HIV infections and assess those in need of follow-up care for HIV, TB and STIs.”

Cawood said the study will show which programmes are working, which ones are not and ones that will influence the design of future programmes.

According to 2012’s South African national HIV prevalence, incidence, behaviour and communication survey, the total number of infected South Africans now is at 6,4 million.

The research principal investigator in the study, Dr Ayesha Kharsany said monitoring the impact of scaled-up programmes would indicate whether role players were achieving their goal.

“It will provide a model and tools for other districts, provinces and other sub-Saharan African countries to undertake HIV surveillance and measure the impact of programmes,” Kharsany said.

Disease Control and Prevention’s Dr Nancy Knight said the study will successfully contribute to future policy for action. “There are critical questions to be answered when it comes to interventions and reducing HIV infections,” Knight said. “It provides an important opportunity to study the effects of planned interventions on HIV incidence in a province that is markedly affected by the HIV epidemic.”

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