Presentations at the SA AIDS conference: deliberating strategies to eliminate HIV as a public health threat

3 July 2023

CAPRISA scientists participated in the 11th SA AIDS conference held in Durban, which brought together policymakers, scientists, social activists and people living with HIV to review and reflect on progress made towards HIV/AIDS and TB epidemic control. Senior Scientist Prof Lenine Liebenberg served on the conference organising committee and led the Basic and Clinical Sciences track.  

The track included several abstract-driven sessions discussing research advances and opportunities for innovations in HIV prevention, refining the treatment landscape, and cure research. Additionally, track symposia explored humoral immunity in HIV prevention and cure, opportunities for innovation in managing HIV and other STIs, and controlling the consequences of HIV and ageing. Liebenberg chaired the session: HIV and other STIs – Challenges and Opportunities, and co-chaired the plenary: “Re-connecting - are we on track towards Epidemic control?”

Prof Quarraisha Abdool Karim chaired the plenary: Unpacking the next steps, with co-chair Patrick Mdletshe, Head: Community Programmes.  Dr Sinaye Ngcapu, Senior Scientist, discussed his current research on understanding and manipulating the genital microbiome to limit susceptibility to HIV and other STIs; Prof Desh Archary, Senior Scientist, chaired the session: Humoral Immunity in HIV Prevention and Cure; and Dr Melissa-Rose Abrahams (UCT) chaired the abstract session: HIV Cure and presented in a session: Humoral Immunity in HIV prevention and Cure.

CAPRISA staff and fellows were also featured in other tracks. Oral presentations were made by Dr Upasna Singh, Research Clinician, titled: Patients Perceptions on Starting Antiretroviral Therapy During Implementation of Universal Test and Treat, in track: Innovation for Service Delivery;  and by Mr Mxolisi Mathenjwa, Study Coordinator– Prevention Studies, eThekwini CRS, titled: Safer Conception for Women: Delivering Adherence Counselling to Women taking Oral PrEP wishing to Conceive with Partners Living with HIV or with Unknown sero-status in South Africa, in the  session: Community Intervention; and Ms Makhosazane Zondi, Research Psychology MSS Student, titled: Can STI testing in pregnancy improve partner management?, in the satellite session: Sexually transmitted infections in pregnancy: towards best practice.

Dr Nicola Bodley, Research Clinician, presented a poster titled: “Point-of-care urine tenofovir testing to improve antiretroviral treatment adherence and HIV outcomes in South Africa”.

Photo: Top row: Profs Lenine Liebenberg, Quarraisha Abdool Karim, Mr Patrick Mdletshe, Prof Desh Archary, Dr Melissa-Rose Abrahams. Second row (L-R): Dr Upasna Singh, Mr Mxolisi Mathenjwa, Ms Makhosazane Zondi, Dr Nicola Bodley, Dr Sinaye Ngcapu