Khulani Siphile Siphuhle Training Program (KiSS-TP)

To build HIV scientific, research and academic capacity within South Africa’s Historically Disadvantaged Universities and Create a critical mass of cutting-edge HIV researchers through the KiSS-TP consortium

South Africa faces significant health challenges as the epicentre of the global HIV epidemic, with high rates of HIV and TB. These disease burdens are compounded by the co-occurrence of common mental disorders, particularly in the context of HIV and HIV/TB. Underlying these national-level health trends are provincial and district health inequalities resulting from the legacy of the racist apartheid regime. The structural inequities wrought by apartheid continue to influence the distribution and prevalence of social, economic and behavioural risk factors that impact health outcomes.

For questions on the KiSS-TP please contact [email protected]

KiSS Training Program -- EASTERN CAPE

Why focus on the Eastern Cape?

Eastern Cape province has one of the highest HIV prevalence, the highest TB incidence, and some of the poorest outcome metrics in South Africa. Even with these facts, most research support, capacity, implementation, donor funding and infrastructure continues to flow to the well-established, historically advantaged institutions in Durban (KwaZulu-Natal Province), Johannesburg (Gauteng Province) and Cape Town (Western Cape Province). This too is a legacy of apartheid policies that impacted access to educational opportunities and the allocation of resources to universities.

The development of HIV research capacity in the Eastern Cape Province is pivotal for combatting South Africa’s HIV epidemic. Addressing gaps in training local investigators to utilize mixed methods effectively is essential for enhancing HIV prevention and treatment efforts. KiSS-TP offers comprehensive graduate training for South African PhD candidates, with a specific focus on empowering historically disadvantaged institutions and students, ultimately contributing to improved HIV prevention and treatment outcomes in the Eastern Cape Province.

To rectify health and institutional disparities, it’s essential to invest in institutions beyond Durban, Johannesburg, and Cape Town. By supporting Eastern Cape’s HIV researchers, an immediate return on investment can be achieved, fostering a critical mass of cutting-edge experts within the region by aiming to reach two main goals.

Goal 1: Provide PhD training to the next generation of historically disadvantaged HIV researchers in Eastern Cape Province.

Goal 2: Strengthen PhD training capacity in Eastern Cape through professional development and progression towards independent research programmes for UFH and WSU faculty and D43 trainees.


To build HIV scientific, research and academic capacity within South Africa’s Historically Disadvantaged Universities and Create a critical mass of cutting-edge HIV researchers in Eastern Cape Province, South Africa through the KiSS-TP consortium.


  1. Increase the scientific expertise and complementary skills of KiSS-TP trainees.
  2. Improve the ability of trainees to pursue independently supported scientific careers.
  3. Integrate trainees into HDIs and/or the Eastern Cape research community following the program.
  4. Strengthen trainee contributions to KiSS-TP research focus areas.

KiSS Training Program -- LGBT+ DIVISION

The Desmond Tutu Health Foundation’s (DTHF) LGBT+ Health Division based at the Groote Schuur Hospital Clinical Research site in Cape Town collaborated with the KiSS-TP at the DTHF Eastern Cape site to establish the LGBTQI+ Health Research Fellowship to improve the research capacity of young HIV researchers, with a focus on sexual and gender minorities.

In line with their commitment to empowering LGBTQI+ individuals and communities, the DTHF LGBT+ Health Division is providing a research training program for early career LGBTQI+ health researchers.


  1. Provide research training for early career LGBTQI+ health researchers primarily via a mentored qualitative research project examining factors that influence access to health and psychosocial care for LGBTQI+ people in South Africa.
  2. Strengthen the capacity of researchers from diverse, underrepresented backgrounds particularly sexual and gender minorities in South Africa.
  3. Enhance research focus on HIV and other health needs of sexual and gender minority communities.



Five LGBTQI+ health research fellows have been selected at both the undergraduate and postgraduate level in South Africa. Three graduate fellows and one postgraduate fellow are based at the LGBT+ Health Division at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town and one postgraduate fellow is based at the DTHF Eastern Cape site in East London.

The training program involves a mentored research project looking at various aspects of access to health and psychosocial care for LGBTQI+ populations and creating inclusive LGBTQI+ healthcare environments. Trainees will gain experience in qualitative and quantitative research methods, including conducting surveys, in-depth interviews and focus group discussions. They will participate in all phases of the research process, receive mentoring from experienced LGBTQI+ researchers, and have access to educational resources, seminars and community outreach activities. The ultimate goal is to nurture a diverse and inclusive research environment and develop the next generation of LGBTQI+ health researchers.

A huge thank you to NIH Fogarty International Centre and The Office of AIDS Research for their funding and support.

Meet the Eastern Cape KiSS-TP Fellows

Meet the LGBTQI+ Health Research Fellows