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Family focus is hallmark of new South African grant

HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson today announced the award of a Comprehensive International Program of Research on AIDS (CIPRA) grant to researchers in South Africa. The Perinatal HIV Research Unit of the WITS Health Consortium in Johannesburg will receive $21.3 million over five years to conduct a research effort led by James McIntyre, M.D., of University of Witwatersrand and Chris Hani Baragwanth Hospital in Soweto. The award will support HIV/AIDS research in a family setting, a rarely tried approach to fighting the disease.

"In areas such as Johannesburg's Soweto Township, where hardships of HIV/AIDS are profound and resources strained, this new CIPRA award will help develop practical, sustainable techniques of HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment tailored to the needs of families," noted Secretary Thompson.

Administered by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the CIPRA program helps developing countries strengthen their HIV/AIDS infrastructure and increase their capacity for research into promising methods of HIV prevention and treatment. In South Africa, HIV infects one person in nine, and the number living with HIV/AIDS--between 3.5 and 4.2 million--is the highest in the world.

"Low-income households in South Africa carry the greatest burden of disease, experience the greatest negative effects, and have the least reserves available to cope," said Dr. McIntyre. The new CIPRA grant, "Safeguard the Household: Comprehensive AIDS Research," will address HIV/AIDS as a problem not simply of individuals, but of entire families, he explained. All family members may participate in the studies. This emphasis is well suited to Soweto where more than one HIV/AIDS infected person in a household is the norm rather than the exception, and where costs of caring for a family member dying of AIDS further impoverishes already poor households.

"The economic impact continues even after the death of family members from AIDS,
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Contact: Anne A. Oplinger
Aoplinger@niaid.nih.gov
301-402-1663
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
21-Oct-2002


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