SEARCH (Sustained East Africa Research in Community Health) Study in Kenya and Uganda/ Gates

Investigator: Diane Havlir, MD
Sponsor: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Location(s): Kenya; Uganda


SEARCH is about using treatment to stop the spread of HIV and building community health. This information will guide a global effort to end AIDS. The SEARCH Consortium was established in Vienna in 2010 to conduct community based research with global partners in health, economics and education. The study is being led by Dr. Diane Havlir, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), Dr. Maya Petersen, University of California, Berkeley (UCB) and Dr. Moses Kamya, Makerere University, Uganda and is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, PEPFAR and the Ministries of Health in Kenya and Uganda. The WHO, UNAIDS, the Global Fund, and the World Bank are study advisors. Gilead supplies ART for those patients not eligible by country guidelines.

The SEARCH study includes 32 communities of roughly 10,000 persons each, in Uganda and Kenya. Even in the most rural of areas, SEARCH has developed ways to track, test, and treat entire communities through valuable partnerships with local leaders. To create a sustainable health system, SEARCH has initiated training programs for local counselors and health care providers and has facilitated linkage to care for people who need treatment for diseases beyond HIV, including but not limited to malaria, tuberculosis, hypertension, chronic kidney disease and diabetes. Ultimately, the outcomes of SEARCH will not only include the empirical proof that "test and treat" for HIV can bring a community's collective viral load to zero to stop the spread of HIV. Results from SEARCH will inform worldwide debates about the economic, educational, and social benefits of community-based healthcare strategies.