The Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health - Annual Research Day Conference
Zimbabwe has experienced one of the largest HIV epidemics in the world and thus HIV prevention, treatment and study dissemination is of paramount importance in Zimbabwe. The University of Zimbabwe-University of California San Francisco (UZ-UCSF) Collaborative Research Programme is proposing to host an annual two-day HIV conference in Harare, Zimbabwe for the purpose of building local and regional capacity to address critical public health challenges that underpin the success of HIV prevention and treatment strategies. As a Clinical Trails Unit conducting cutting edge research on HIV prevention and treatment in the region for 22 years, UZ-UCSF is uniquely positioned to organize this conference and disseminate research findings to 150-200 local stakeholders to continually inform best practices in local standard of care.
The University of Zimbabwe-University of California San Francisco (UZ-UCSF) Collaborative Research Programme is proposing an annual two-day HIV conference in Harare, Zimbabwe to build local and regional capacity to address critical public health challenges that underpin the success of HIV prevention and treatment strategies. UZ-UCSF conducts cutting-edge research on HIV prevention and treatment in Zimbabwe. As a Clinical Trials Unit (CTU; PI Chirenje) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the UZ-UCSF Programme collaborates with five NIH-sponsored HIV/AIDS research networks, including the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN), AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG), International Maternal Pediatric Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trials Group (IMPAACT), HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN), and the Microbicides Trials Network (MTN). For the past 14 years, the UZ-UCSF Programme leadership has conducted a two-day scientific conference where study Investigators and invited speakers present and disseminate new research findings and technical analyses of current trends in HIV and tuberculosis (TB) to 150-200 attendees including key local stakeholders. As a result, the UZ-UCSF Programme is viewed as a valuable technical partner well poised to advise on regional HIV and TB policy and program implementation. The UZ-UCSF Programme aims to expand the scope of the annual conference to include a focus on priority issues related to HIV treatment and biomedical prevention. The scope of work for this proposal supports a series of annual conferences over a 4-year period, through the end of the current CTU funding cycle (11/30/2020). For the 2017 conference (Year 1), we propose to focus on the critical issue of adherence to HIV treatment and prevention with a special focus on adolescent and young African women. Low adherence has been identified as a threat to the regional goal of achieving sustained virological suppression in 90% of infected persons and reducing new infections especially among adolescent and young women. Despite successes in reducing HIV, the sub-Saharan African region continues to have the most serious HIV and AIDS epidemic in the world with roughly 1.5 million new HIV infections per year. While the majority of new HIV infections in the region occur in adults, HIV disproportionately affects young women; more than 4 in 10 new infections among women are in young women aged 15-24. In alignment with the scientific mission of NIAID, the aims of the 2017 conference will be to 1) discuss state-of-the-science evidence on adherence, including successful interventions, with a focus on unique challenges to key populations, such as young African women; 2) identify new research directions related to adherence, including its measurement, influencing factors, needs of key populations; and 3) provide a forum for discussions of adherence to real world implementation of behavioral and clinical interventions. In so doing, the conference will be unique in its approach to build local and regional capacity to address a critical public health challenge that underpins the success of both HIV treatment and prevention strategies.