Social Behavioural Research

March 2022 – February 2023

Our social behavioural research has been critical in understanding the complex drivers of human behaviour as an essential requirement for successful implementation of any biomedical, behavioural or structural interventions promoting health related outcomes. Socio-behavioural research reveals critical insights and contextual understanding pertinent to biomedical implementation science. Our research is overarching spanning from adolescent populations to cis gender women, cis gender men and Men who have sex with men (MSM). We cover broad topics such as HIV treatment and prevention looking at interventions that support for better health care engagement. Our ongoing supportive role to the Foundation’s largely biomedical research has ensured successful implementation and completion of ground-breaking biomedical research including oral Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) injectable PrEP and other topical HIV prevention products. In light of the above, Social behavioural work has been engaged in several key research in the last year, however report on activities relating to on-going studies.

The IMARA Study is a controlled randomised trial evaluating the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of a promising family-based behavioural intervention to reduce incidents of HIV and STI infections, increase PrEP and HTC uptake, and reduce risky sexual activity among a total sample of 1290 Female care givers and their adolescent girls. We started enrolment in October 2021. We have so far enrolled over half of the total sample.

IAVI Digitapp study. By our last reporting period, we reported that we had been awarded funds to conduct Digitapp, a study that aims to understand perspectives from emerging digitally driven risk networks in informing a target product profile (TPP) for next-generation HIV prevention vaccine. This is a study that would be conducted across 3 sites in Africa and 2 sites in India examining the nature and characteristics of HIV risk networks (or sexual networks of key populations at risk for HIV), across digital and physical spaces; understand HIV prevention product development process and potential vaccine attributes in consultation with scientific domain experts and vaccine developers and to understand, through elicitation research, preferences of potential end-users (from digital and physical networks) to inform HIV vaccine target product profile. The study targets priority populations including AGYW, female sex workers, adolescent boys and young men, track drivers, and fishing communities especially those located in Uganda.

In year one, our goal is to complete the qualitative component of the study that includes Focus group discussions and in-depth interviews that would inform the quantitative phase for year 2. We received ethics approval in January 2023. We have so far completed half our data collection activities. Data collection will be completed in June 2023.

SAMURAI: This is a novel study aiming to assess the acceptability and preferences of implants and injections as long-acting pre-exposure prophylaxis(PrEP) delivery formulations for HIV prevention among Men how have sex with women (MSW) and Men who have sex with men (MSM) aged 18-35 in Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa. We completed the formative research and started the clinical trial in January 2023. The clinical trial is a crossover study where participants are randomized 1:1 to receive one placebo implant for 6 months and bimonthly placebo injections for 6 months, used in a randomized sequence. Each enrolled participant is followed for approximately one year. We started data collection and we aim to reach accrual in August 2023.

We hosted the “Take A Girl Child To Work” event at PV in September of 2022. Professor Glenda Gray attended along with two young interns, enthusiastic about research. Our team presented a broad range of both current and past studies especially those relating to adolescent work.

In May we hosted the NIMH team at PV. At the visit we presented some of our work funded by NIMH including SAMURAI, iPREVENT, and other studies run by the social-behavioural team at PV.

Heritage Day 2022

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