News & events


9th SA AIDS Conference 2019

11 June 2019

The 9th SA AIDS Conference will be taking place from 11-14 June 2019 at the Durban ICC.

This is a biannual conference and is the second largest HIV conference in the world, attended by over 3,000 people, 25% of which are from countries other than South Africa.  It is one of the most prominent medical meetings in southern Africa.  Delegates include scientists, medical practitioners and representatives from the public sector, NGO and faith-based sectors and the corporate sector.

The HSRC has always used this conference as a key platform to profile our research, disseminate our research outputs and to profile our researchers.  This year the HSRC will focus on our newly established research programme called the Social Aspects of Public Health (SAPH). 

The Social Aspects of Public Health research programme  undertakes research on the social, determinants, behavioural, and structural determinants of the quadruple burden of disease of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis (TB), maternal and childhood diseases; non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and violence and injuries  as well as to both develop intervention programmes and undertake implementation science research. The research strives to address these health problems at both social and population levels. It also includes social aspects of delivery models for biomedical interventions in order to improve implementation and effectiveness. The Social Aspects of Public Health generates focused evidence-based knowledge that informs government policies addressing poverty-related public health problems and promoting equity in health care, access and outcomes as envisaged in the National Development Plan. These public health challenges are addressed through key thematic research pillars of:

•    Surveillance and Strategic Information
•    Health Systems Innovation 
•    Interventions and Implementation Research 
•    Health Behaviour and Wellbeing  
•    Research Methodologies and Technologies

For this conference we are honoured to have our researchers showcased at the conference at different levels and in different ways.

Dr Mpumi Zungu is the chair of track 4 as indicated below together with her co-chair.

Track 4: Social drivers of the epidemic: Society, race, class, culture, stigma, violence, diversity and challenges

Dr Nompumelelo Zungu is a Research Director of the Operations and Implementation Research (OIR) Unit at the Human Sciences Research Council. She was recently appointed as an Associate Researcher at University of Pretoria, Department of Psychology. She is also the Editor- in-Chief of the SAHARA Journal.

She holds a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Cape Town. She has expertise and special interest in social aspects and social determinants of health, HIV, mental health – specifically trauma and anxiety disorders, risk and sexual behaviour among men and adolescents. She has over 18 years research experience and has been a PI, co PI, and a chief of party on several national surveys and research projects on HIV and AIDS, health and mental health.

She is currently one of the PI’s on the 5th National HIV Prevalence and Incidence Survey. She was recently a PI on PEPFAR Gender Analysis, and a Co-PI on the rapid ethnography study of the vulnerability of young women (aged 15-24 yrs.) to HIV infection in 3 provinces of South Africa. She has co-authored over 49 journal articles, 9 book chapters and 21 research reports.

Dr Kaymarlin Govender is a behavioural scientist specialising in research on HIV/AIDS in young and vulnerable populations in the Eastern and Southern African region. He is currently Research Director at the Health Economics and HIV and AIDS Research Division (HEARD) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa. Kaymarlin was previously associate editor of the African Journal of AIDS Research.

 He has undertaken research for funders such as Sida, USAID, DfiD, STINT, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the CDC. He has had more 80 than peer-reviewed publications in high impact journals and led two special editions on structural drivers of HIV. He is currently co–investigator of NRF Centre of Excellence; Cluster Group -Adolescent Well-being and editor of a forthcoming book on HIV prevention strategies among adolescents and young people in Eastern and Southern Africa.


Where are we: Statistics, Successes, Failures and Challenges
11 June 2019
15:00 – 18:00
CHAIRPERSON: Professor Refilwe Phaswana-Mafuya
TIME Speaker Topic
15:00 Entertainment
15:05 Prof Refilwe Pashwana-Mafuya
Welcome Address
15:15 Prof Francois Venter Dire Sengwe Leadership
15:25 Ms Zee Ngcobo Nkosi Johnson Memorial
15:35 Entertainment
15:40 Prof Khangelani Zuma Where are we: Statistics on the HIV & AIDS epidemic in
South Africa
16:00 Dr Catherine Sozi Global and regional epidemic progress towards the 2030 targets.
16:20 Prof Salim Abdool Karim No time for Complacency
16:40 TBC Introduction of the Deputy President of South Africa

This conference provides the opportunity for a satellite session that will focus on the recently launched SABSSM 5 report.
A brief history of the survey series
In his later years, Nelson Mandela became one of the world’s most significant campaigners in the HIV and TB response. His defining contribution may have been his participation at the International AIDS Conference in Durban in July 2000. At the time, antiretroviral treatment was not yet available in the country, stigma and discrimination were widespread, and the outlook was bleak.  The conference became a rallying point for those who calling for treatment for Africans living with HIV. The powerful speeches of Edwin Cameron and a small boy called Nkosi Johnson, who died a couple of years later, brought it to the world’s attention. Mandela closed the meeting with a speech that changed the AIDS agenda.
The conference was, he said, “the one event where every word uttered, every gesture made, has to be measured against the effect it can and will have on the lives of millions of real human beings all over this continent and planet”.
Madiba’s words followed him and the speech marked the beginning of his total commitment to HIV and TB efforts. He followed this with a very public visit to the Treatment Action Campaign and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in 2002. MSF had recently begun providing free ARVs at a public health clinic in Khayelitsha, despite the government’s refusal to introduce HIV treatment in the public sector. Mandela’s decision to put on a t-shirt emblazoned with the words “HIV Positive” when he met activists in Khayelitsha was a turning point.  It was at this point that he established a HIV/AIDS Programme at the Foundation to assist him with his endeavors to add his voice and the efforts of the NMF to addressing the impact of HIV in South Africa.     
In 2002 the NMF commissioned and supported the first ever HIV Household Survey.  The survey was titled, “Nelson Mandela/HSRC Study of HIV/AIDS South African National HIV Prevalence, Behavioural Risks and Mass Media.  This survey was groundbreaking in that it had not been done before and brought us closer to understanding the epidemic in South Africa. It also impacted the implementation of programmes and policies of the country as a result of the key findings of the survey.
In 2005 the NMF supported the second survey and participated in the launch and dissemination of the results.  The NMF’s commitment to this important survey has continued and they have been involved in all the subsequent surveys.  
The 2017 HIV and Health Study is the fifth wave of a series of cross-sectional surveys undertaken by a research consortium led by the Human Sciences Research Council every few years. The consortium includes local researchers from the South African Medical Research Council, National Institute of Communicable Diseases, Global Clinical & Viral Laboratories, University of Cape Town and international researchers from the USA’s Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), UNAIDS, and UNICEF.  Previous studies were done in 2002, 2005, 2008 and 2012.
As with previous surveys, this survey aimed to determine the HIV status of participants, estimate the number of individuals who were recently affected, determine if the participant is taking antiretroviral medicine and assessed the level of resistance to ARVs by those already on the treatment programme. The study also identified the prevalence of behavioural and social factors that put South Africans at risk of contracting the virus. One of the new objectives of the survey is also to track access to different types of HIV and health education and/or communication interventions and to evaluate several national HIV communication programmes.
This report is crucial for government, policy makers and other stakeholders as they work towards reducing the HIV epidemic in the country and reaching the 90-90-90 targets.

Satellite Session: 9th SA AIDS Conference, 11-14 June 2019 at the Durban ICC.  
Venue: Hall 9
DATE: 13 June
Time: 14:00 – 15:30
Title: The 5th South African National HIV, Behaviour and Communication Survey
The 2017 HIV and Health Survey is the fifth wave of a series of cross-sectional surveys undertaken by a research
consortium led by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC). Previous studies were done in 2002, 2005, 2008
and 2012. South Africa is the only country in the world where this many repeated national HIV surveys were
conducted. This enables us to track the national and provincial trends in the HIV epidemic from 2002 to 2017 and
for the first time, HIV data will also be available for 16 selected districts.
This report is crucial in informing international and national governments, policy makers and key stakeholders
including civil society and programme implementers as they work towards reducing the HIV epidemic in
the country and reaching the 90-90-90 targets. It is also particularly important as it provides useful indicators for
measuring progress between the last South African National Strategic Plan for HIV/AIDS and TB and the present one.
Chairs: Prof Olive Shisana and Sarah Porter (CDC)
14:00 – 14:05   Welcome and introductions
14:05 – 14:50     Unpacking the results – Presentation by HSRC
14:50 – 15:15     Panel Discussion – NDoH Dr. Yogan Pillay; DSD and SANAC Dr Sandile Buthelezi
15:15 – 15:30     Questions & Answers