Located in the south peninsula of Cape Town, the Masiphumelele Research Site has been recognised as a pioneer in HIV prevention and adolescent research. The research team has been conducting clinical trials and epidemiological research at the site for more than 15 years.
A staggering 1 in 4 adults living in the Masiphumelele township is HIV positive, and the number of new infections continue to rise year after year; most of those infected are women. The recently urbanised, overcrowded and under-served township is representative of many peri-urban communities in South Africa that are challenged by infection and disease.
The Masiphumelele Research Site aims to understand and ultimately control the TB and HIV epidemic in the area by gathering data and researching HIV prevention methods. The site is a Division of AIDS-accredited centre for HIV prevention studies, including microbicides, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and vaccines. Working in close proximity to the Aerobiology and TB Research Unit and the DTHF Youth Centre, the site provides a unique space for investigator-driven socio-behavioural research. The team has completed a number of successful National Institute of Health-funded projects and has hosted numerous student interns as part of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) Research and Mentorship programme.
The research team works closely with adult and adolescent Community Advisory Boards in Masiphumelele. These are community groups that help facilitate information flow between investigators and the community.