Projects

A GIFT (Genital Inflammation Test) for HIV Prevention

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.

Timeline

2013–2022

Collaborators

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

Funding

  • South African Medical Research Council Strategic Health Innovation Partnership
  • South African Technology Innovation Agency

Contact Details

For any general enquiries relating to this project, please contact:

Doctor Lindi Masson

Senior Research Fellow

Telephone

+61392822282

Email

[email protected]