December 2016:

World AIDS Day  is 1st December each year,  an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died.  This year, during the same week the World Health Organisation (WHO) launched their 2016 global HIV progress report alongside their updated guidelines on HIV self-testing and partner notification.

Several IeDEA-WHO collaboration analyses from both the 2015 and 2016 rounds of this collaboration were cited in chapter three (Country action and WHO support) of this latest WHO progress report (see pages 28-30 & 38). Many thanks to the IeDEA-SA team for your continued commitment and support of this evolving and expanding collaboration with the WHO.



November 2016:

Andreas Haas wins Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+) Award for PhD article in the Lancet.

The annual Swiss Public Health Conference, organized for the first time jointly by the Swiss SSPH+ and Public Health Schweiz in Bern on Tuesday 15 November 2016, was a great succcess. Andreas Haas from the IeDEA SA Data Center at the ISPM, University of Bern was announced winner of the annual SSPH+ Award for the best published PhD article in public health. His publication entitled "Retention in care during the first 3 years of antiretroviral therapy for women in Malawi's option B+ programme: an observational cohort study"was published in April 2016 in the Lancet.  A total of 16 PhD students submitted a manuscript for the competition and all publications were evaluated by an international jury.Congratulations!


October 2016:

Life expectancy trends in adults on antiretroviral treatment in South Africa AIDS, 2016

Leigh Johnson (University of Cape Town) and colleagues recently published a concise communication which found that improvements in life expectancies in South African antiretroviral treatment (ART) patients were not observed after controlling for changes in baseline CD4 count and duration on ART. Their findings suggest that changes in clinical practice and programme scale-up have had little impact on ART mortality in SA.

Previous studies have reported improvements in life expectancies of patients on ART over time, but it is not clear whether these improvements are explained by changes in baseline clinical characteristics, longer duration on ART or changes in clinical practices.

Good news for Cancer research. Many congratulations to Mazvita Sengayi (NHLS) and Julia Bohlius (University of Bern)!

Julia was awarded an important grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation to continue her and her team's work on the South African Cancer Match (SAM) study.

HIV infection was established as a cause of cancer by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in1996; however, there is limited research on HIV-related cancers in sub-Saharan Africa, where two thirds of the world’s HIV positive population live. The overarching goal of the research is to inform cancer prevention and control programmes in children and adults living with HIV in the era of ART in South Africa. The aims are to (i) establish a virtual cohort of HIV- infected children and adults using the *National Health Laboratory Services results for HIV tests, CD4 count and HIV viral load, (ii) link the NHLS HIV data to the National Cancer Registry data and identify HIV-infected children and adults who developed cancer; (iii) use the merged data set to study the spectrum and incidence of cancer in HIV-infected children and adults.

The NHLS and NCR-SA together provide the unique opportunity to link longitudinal HIV data from the NHLS to cancer data and thus to assess cancer risk in HIV-positive South Africans.  The resulting merged dataset will be the largest and most unique resource to study the spectrum and risk of cancer in HIV-positive children and adults in the era of ART.

*The NHLS is the public diagnostic laboratory and pathology service in South Africa that serves over 80% of the population through a national network of laboratories.  

Mazvita received a grant for first-time principal investigators for a sub-study within the SAM study, the sub-study is called “Burden of Cancers Attributable to HIV in South Africa (2004 – 2014)”. The full name of the grant is CRDF Global Beginning Investigator Grant for Catalytic Research (BIG Cat) for cancer - an African Organization for Research and Training in Cancer (AORTIC) program grant with support from NIH and NCI.



©  ISPM - University of Bern 2015