Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
HHS To Award $21.3 Million Grant to South Africa’s Perinatal HIV Research Unit
HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson yesterday announced that the Perinatal HIV Research Unit of the WITS Health Consortium in Johannesburg, South Africa, will receive a five-year, $21.3 million grant from the Comprehensive International Program of Research on AIDS, a U.S. Department of State release/AllAfrica.com reports (U.S. Department of State release/AllAfrica.com, 10/21). The grant, titled, "Safeguard the Household: Comprehensive AIDS Research," will fund HIV/AIDS research that includes the entire family of an HIV-positive individual, an approach that is "rarely tried," according to the release. Dr. James McIntyre of the University of Witwatersrand, one of the lead researchers, said that this research method is "well suited to [Johannesburg's Soweto Township] where more than one HIV/AIDS-infected person in a household is the norm rather than the exception and where costs of caring for a family member dying of AIDS further impoverishes already poor households." The research project, which is a collaboration between the University of Witwatersrand, the University of Cape Town, the University of Stellenbosch, the South African National Health Laboratory Service and other institutions, aims to evaluate HIV/AIDS treatments for both adults and children in a family setting, determine whether scheduled breaks in treatments can slow the progression from HIV to AIDS in infants, test the efficacy of pneumonia and meningitis childhood vaccinations in preventing AIDS-related illnesses, evaluate the "community effect" of highly active antiretroviral therapy on AIDS-related illnesses and deaths and evaluate "simple, inexpensive" ways of monitoring disease progression. "Enhancing the quality of life for people living with HIV/AIDS is the key aim of this project," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which administers the CIPRA program, said, adding, "Research in a family context provides excellent opportunities to do that by offering social support services, risk reduction messages and prophylaxis of opportunistic infections. We believe this research ultimately will benefit the many families living in the shadow of HIV/AIDS" (HHS release, 10/21).
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