The aims of the proposed project are to facilitate and foster social science research and training in the field of HIV/AIDS, and promote the development of sustained and mutually informative multidisciplinary interaction between the social and bio-medical scientists in seeking solutions to the epidemic in African populations. The setting of the proposed program will be the province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, although the research results will have resonance for other African situations where HIV constitutes a major threat to life and well being. These objectives will be achieved by a combined, iterative and mutually reinforcing training and research program in the specific field of ethnographic research methods tailored to the needs of local HIV/AIDS researchers, activists and policy makers. An interdisciplinary team of social, behavioral and bio-medical researchers from the Center for HIV Networking (HIVAN) at the University of Natal in South Africa and the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University in New York City, will be involved in both components of the project, providing social science training annually to between 16-24 students, and conducting foundational studies in one urban and one rural location in KwaZulu-Natal. With classroom-based instruction in social sciences theory and methods followed by mentored experiential training in the field, trainees will be able to contribute biosocial perspective on HIV/AIDS either as full-blown researchers or as professionals or community workers. The experiential training will occur in the context of multi-year extended case studies of the HIV-related challenges face by women and children in three domains of their lives: clinic settings, where women and children receive medical care; families and households, where the epidemic is faced on a day-to-day bases as they face the reactions of family members to their HIV status, and, in the wider community, which may provide critical support, such as care for women when ailing, and for orphaned children. The studies are prompted by the milestone event of the introduction of antiretroviral therapy to prevent both mother-to-child transmission of HIV and to sustain the health of the poor women. When implemented, the ethnographic research and the training program will make up a seamless whole, with the ethnographic project acting as a teaching reference point and learning site for the training program, and the training program providing capacity for the ethnographic project and its future extension.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Resource-Related Research Projects (R24)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZHD1-DSR-A (03))
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Newcomer, Susan
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Uknz Innovation Pty, Ltd.
South Africa
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