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Inflammation in the female reproductive tract is associated with increased risk of HIV acquisition and reproductive complications. This inflammation is primarily caused by sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and bacterial vaginosis (BV). According to current guidelines in resource-limited settings, STIs and BV are only treated if women present with symptoms, as accurate etiological tests for STIs and BV are currently too expensive for implementation. However, asymptomatic women with these conditions have equivalent levels of genital inflammation and HIV risk as symptomatic women.
Our team at the University of Cape Town has identified and validated three biomarkers of genital inflammation and aim to develop a point-of-care lateral flow test that can be used as part of HIV prevention and reproductive healthcare packages being offered by government organisations and non-governmental organisations, specifically those involved in the provision of HIV prevention services, family planning and antenatal care.
Our aim is to implement this test as a triage tool to identify women with genital inflammation who will be referred for etiological STI/BV testing and treatment, HIV preexposure prophylaxis (if considered high risk), and/or close monitoring during pregnancy.
UNIVERSITY OF CAPE TOWN: Associate Prof Jo-Ann Passmore (co-Principal Investigator) Mr Philip Hoekstra Mr Saberi Marais Dr Andrew Bailey Associate Prof Edina Sinanovic Bahiah Meyer Dr Ramla Tanko
SEATTLE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL: Assistant Prof Heather Jaspan
UNIVERSITY OF STELLENBOSCH: Dr Shaun Barnabas
DESMOND TUTU HIV FOUNDATION: Prof Linda-Gail Bekker
UNIVERSITY OF KWAZULU-NATAL: Prof Koleka Mlisana
CENTRE FOR THE AIDS PROGRAMME OF RESEARCH IN SOUTH AFRICA: Dr Nigel Garrett
WESTERN SYDNEY SEXUAL HEALTH CENTRE, AND SYDNEY UNIVERSITY Prof David Lewis
LATERAL FLOW LABORATORIES: Nick Borain Julianne Du Plessis
ANTRUM BIOTECH: Khilona Radia Philippa Randall
FHI 360: Dr Jennifer Deese
PERINATAL HIV RESEARCH UNIT, UNIVERSITY OF THE WITWATERSRAND:
Prof Glenda Gray