STIs & other infectious diseases

March 2022 – February 2023

Sexually transmitted Infections (STIs) remain a serious public health concern and a number of our Sites are actively working on strategies to reduce STI transmission in our communities. The Zoli study investigated a new drug for Gonorrhea (Zoliflodacin) which is of critical importance in preventing the emergence of treatment-resistant Gonorrhea. We also investigated optimum dosing strategies for the HPV vaccine (Gardasil-9). The DTHF collaborated with the South African HIV Clinicians Society to draft guidelines for the management of STIs in the country. The team at Masiphumelele is partnering with the University of Cape Town and teams in Madagascar and Zimbabwe on a study called “GIFT” to trial a new point-of-care test to detect genital inflammation. The “FastPrEP-STI” study, evaluates the impact of screening and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) on PrEP uptake and persistence. The project site is based in the Klipfontein/Mitchells Plain district, located in the Cape Town Metro.

Covid-19 research

The declaration, by the WHO in May 2023 that Covid-19 was no longer an international public health emergency is a very encouraging step and is due largely to the wide-scale availability of vaccines. The DTHF team were involved in running the ENSEMBLE clinical trial that led to the licensing of the J&J Covid vaccine and the vaccination of almost half a million health workers during the height of the pandemic. In line with our innovation value, the DTHF has also participated in several other Covid related clinical trials including the BASIS study that looked at whether we could use a dose-sparing strategy to achieve the same results as full doses of vaccines. We participated in the Ubuntu study which is a research study conducted in Eastern and Southern Africa to test the efficacy of the Moderna vaccine in adults living with HIV or with existing health conditions that put them at risk of severe COVID-19.

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