Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health Division of Epidemiology faculty member Dr Sheree Schwartz PhD gave a fascinating talk at the CIDRZ Research Meeting about optimization of the HIV prevention and care continuum for women living with HIV or at risk of acquiring HIV in Southern Africa. Dr Schwartz is based in Baltimore, Maryland, but has projects in Johannesburg, South Africa.
High HIV prevalence rates of 63% and syphilis rates of up to 20% in female sex workers in South Africa with high rates of HIV status knowledge, but low rates of linking to ART care indicate a dire need to reach young women in this key vulnerable population by bringing ART care into the community.
Dr Schwartz also presented data on ‘Safer Conception’ strategies for discordant couples to enable successful child-bearing with decreased HIV transmission risk to a negative partner and to the baby. A Safer Conception Demonstration Project is currently ongoing in South Africa.