Women comprise about 50% of the 36.7 million people living with HIV worldwide and in many sub-Saharan African countries including Nigeria, ~2 out of 3 HIV infected adults are women. Even more worrisome is the observation that overwhelming number of new infections in Nigeria occur among young women of childbearing age, and as such, one-third of all global cases of mother-to-child transmission of HIV occurs in the country. Not only is the burden of HIV higher in women, the impact of its scourge is far more reaching. HIV is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality among women of reproductive age in Nigeria. HIV complicates every aspect of health across a woman?s lifespan, including reproductive health where it impacts partner sero-sorting and sexual habits, fertility desires and contraceptive choices, pregnancy and delivery, menopause and aging. Tackling the myriads of health challenges confronting women living with HIV is a necessary step to achieving the WHO global strategy for women?s, children?s and adolescent health. It will require nurturing a critical mass of local health scientists and equipping them with the skills to conduct valid research that addresses the local health needs of women living with HIV. To begin to meet these needs, we will leverage the research education infrastructure at Emory University and the partnering Nigerian institutions (Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR); University of Lagos (UNILAG); and AIDS Prevention Initiative Nigeria (APIN)) to provide state-of-the-art in-country research training with focus on methodologies, rigorous mentorship, and grant management capacity building. Such training will be applied to three main domains of HIV/women?s health research: a) HIV prevention and reproductive health; b) Challenges in HIV therapeutics unique to women living with HIV (WLWH); and c) Complications of chronic HIV infection relevant to WLWH. Preceptors are selected based on their expertise in these areas and their mentoring experience.
The overarching goal of the Emory-Nigeria HIV Research Training Program (EN-RTP) is to enhance the capacity and the quality of researchers focused on HIV health issues relevant to women in Nigeria. To accomplish this, we will leverage existing collaborations between Emory University and three partnering Nigerian institutions to enhance human resource capacity enrichment with long-, medium-, and short-term research training of Nigerian investigators, facilitating their acquisition of the skills needed to pursue research careers focused on women?s health and HIV/AIDS.