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Lesley Lawson

Lesley Lawson

Tuesday, 13 June 2017 21:10

SA AIDS2017, Tuesday!

The opening session of the 8th SA AIDS Conference, “The Long Walk to Prevention”, set the scene by inviting youth voices to frame the major challenges ahead for HIV in the region. The conference began in darkness with the voice of 22-year-old Saidy Brown reading a personal poem to HIV. “Because of you,” she said, “there goes all my happy days”.

In a carefully scripted drama, a group of young people took us through all the parameters of youth HIV risk: poverty, gender-based violence, stigma against young key populations, the generation divide... They made a convincing plea to be involved as active partners in big decision-making, complaining that HIV organisations are filled with old people whose top-down programmes have failed to work, “Stop starting new campaigns, “they said. “This year ‘She Conquers’, next year ‘He Conquers’, the following year ‘They Conquer!”

Monday, 12 June 2017 21:13

Innovative models of care

It has long been recognised that new models of HIV care are essential if we are to reach the 90-90-90 treatment targets. In a preconference session to the 8th SA AIDS Conference, FHI360 presented their experience of differentiated models of care in Nigeria and six countries in eastern and southern Africa. Innovations include a range of strategies across the 90-90-90 cascade, such as multi-month scripting, spaced clinic visits, decentralised care, ART clubs and ART refills in community, targeted services for adolescents and key populations, task shifting and many others.

Friday, 31 March 2017 14:03

MSM Technical Forum

Around 50 leading researchers, policy makers and programme implementers from eastern and southern Africa gathered in Johannesburg at the end of March to discuss strategies for strengthening HIV prevention services for men who have sex with men.

Thursday, 16 June 2016 12:15

Political declaration

On June 8 UN member states adopted the Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS:On the Fast-Track to Accelerate the fight against HIV and to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030. The declaration called for urgent action to ensure that no one is left behind in the AIDS response.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016 16:21

Rethinking EHPSA

It’s now halfway through the EHPSA programme and a good time to review progress and discuss strategies to make our work more effective. In mid-May the team met for three days to see how we could "up our game". We also discussed the recommendations of the recent Annual Review of the programme and how to operationalise our response.

Sunday, 20 March 2016 10:39

Prisoners Technical Forum

On March 14-16, over 50 prisons officials, researchers and non-governmental organisations met in Lusaka, Zambia, to discuss challenges
around HIV prevention in prisons in eastern and southern Africa.

Friday, 27 November 2015 13:25

Policy Influence Workshop

In October 2015 seventeen researchers from the nine EHPSA research portfolios met with the EHPSA team to discuss the potential influence of their research on policy making in eastern and southern Africa.

Two leading policy makers from countries in the region also attended and contributed their views and experience. The meeting was strongly participatory and covered the following topics:

  • Theory and practice of policy influence;
  • Lessons participants have learned about policy engagement
    from past programmes;
  • Different approaches to policy influence that
    could be taken by the nine research projects;
  • The regional context for evidence-informed
    policy making on HIV prevention for adolescents, LGBTI and prisoners:
    diagnosing the problem;
  • Identifying key stakeholders and assessing
    influence and interest;
  • Designing a plan to engage key stakeholders; and
  • Monitoring, tracking and sharing of policy
    influence and experience.

Researchers undertook to develop a stakeholder engagement plan that defined policy influence objectives and activities
at key milestones of their research.

The full report. Read...

Thursday, 15 October 2015 02:00

RRIF Progress

The Regional Research Fund is going from strength to strength. First quarterly reports from the nine research teams show that the majority are making steady progress. Some have already received ethical approval for their studies and have begun the implementation phase of their research.

Tuesday, 04 August 2015 02:00

Symposium, June 2015

The first EHPSA regional symposium was held in Durban on June 8-9, 2015.

pdf icon smallFull report on the first EHPSA Regional Symposium. READ...

The symposium was attended by research institutions who have been awarded research contracts under the EHPSA RRIF and related policy making communities.

EHPSA Adolescent Portfolio.

Larry Gelmon (University of Manitoba) introduced the four research projects within the adolescent portfolio, all of which are operational research that look at combination prevention among adolescents. Projects have at least one site in South Africa, with other sites in Zambia, Tanzania, and Malawi.

pdf icon smallLead researchers, or their representatives, made brief presentations on the four research projects. READ...

EHPSA Prisoners Portfolio

Josee Koch (Mott MacDonald technical lead on EHPSA Output 4) introduced the EHPSA Prisoners research which focusses on treatment as prevention.


Anthony Kinghorn (Mott MacDonald, EHPSA technical adviser) introduced the four projects within the EHPSA LGBTI portfolio. Projects focus on improving access to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services, design of HIV prevention interventions / HIV prevention needs, and the burden of sexually transmitted infections (STI) for men who have sex with men.

pdf icon smallLead researchers, or their representatives made brief presentations on the four research projects. READ...

World Bank Portfolio on Population Level Evaluations (EHPSA)

Rosalia Rodriguez-Garcia (World Bank, Washington) and Nicole Fraser-Hurt (World Bank London) presented on the HIV evaluations which are currently underway and are co-financed and implemented by the World Bank. These include demand creation for VMMC in Malawi; strategies to enhance adherence in South Africa; demand-side incentives to enhance HIV prevention among girls and young women in Swaziland; and technical support to strengthen national HIV programme implementation in Swaziland.


Panel discussions followed the presentation of each portfolio. Key issues discussed included:
• The importance of collaboration between researchers and policymakers
• Ownership and sharing of data
• Policymakers’ analysis of the gap between research and practice
• Difficulty of implementing policy on sensitive issues, such as adolescent sexuality and homosexuality – legal and other obstacles

sound icon smallThe discussion on the adolescent portfolio raised several burning issues relating to how policy makers and researchers can work together.

sound icon smallParticipants also identified key factors that enabled or inhibited the uptake of research into policy and practice.



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