HIV continues unchecked in South Africa, with rates of infection among women in rural areas doubling in the last 10 years. South Africa has significant scientific expertise in biomedical innovations, yet the successful implementation and scale up of recently-identified biomedical interventions will require enhanced HIV behavioral expertise, particularly among highly marginalized populations, if the equity gap is to be reduced. The Global Partnership for AIDS Behavioral Research (GPABR) is an organizational structure aiming: 1) to build the scientific capacity of Stellenbosch University and its partners in South Africa to be a key research center with behavioral HIV expertise;2) to identify and implement a behavioral research agenda regarding HIV combination prevention, the use of mobile and rapid diagnostic technologies, and adapting evidence- based interventions (EBI);and 3) to network faculty, students, consultants, and infrastructure staff. Building on ongoing scientific collaborations, GPABR will be a collaboration among interdisciplinary researchers from Stellenbosch University, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and Emory University. An Infrastructure Core and a Research Project Development Core of the GPABR will mobilize scientists, advocates, community and health system providers and consumers to transform HIV research expertise in the social sciences at Stellenbosch University. We will focus our research in a highly rural site in the Eastern Cape, as well as peri-urban Cape Town sites. The Infrastructure Core will: set an HIV behavioral research agenda;support IRB submissions, publications, and grants;promote diverse interdisciplinary research teams. The Research Project Development Core will: conduct an annual competition for pilot grants and conduct a peer review process. We anticipate the impact of the GPABR will be demonstrated in the number and quality of researchers and research products, U.S.-South Africa collaborations;and ratings of trainees and faculty on the quality of mentoring. Overall, GPABR aims to build HlV behavioral scientists, science, and networks to reduce HIV in South Africa and to share expertise with partners globally.
HIV continues to significantly impact South Africans, with H|V's long-term costs continuing to rise. Expanding the behavioral capacity of HIV research at Stellenbosch University will complement the existing biomedical expertise in the country and will provide a critical mass of scientific work to serve as a national center for triggering and promoting behavioral HIV research.
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