Swiss TPH is committed to contributing to global efforts controlling the HIV/AIDS epidemic. We set a particular focus on equity in access to prevention and care with particular emphasis on disadvantaged communities in rural areas and vulnerable groups, such as women and children. Activities build on longstanding partnerships with governmental and non-governmental institutions in different low- to middle income countries, particularly in Sub-Sahara Africa. In these partnerships Swiss TPH provides support through technical expertise, funding of infrastructure and human resources, capacity building and consultancies.
Our projects and activities are aligned to the UNAIDS 2016-2021 Strategy to end AIDS.
We conduct randomized clinical trials, observational and molecular studies addressing current challenges and knowledge-gaps around HIV care provision in rural, resource-limited settings. Our studies aim at providing insights relevant for future HIV guidelines and policies in sub-Saharan African with a particular focus on differentiated care. Aside from research, our group is committed to improving HIV diagnostics and treatment services through training, capacity building, mentoring and infrastructural support in Butha-Buthe and Mokhotlong Districts in Lesotho. Read more about the project
The Chronic Diseases Clinic at the St. Francis Referral Hospital was founded to improve HIV and Tuberculosis care management in 2004. Building upon clinical services in chronic diseases and continuous training of staff alongside a gradual setup of clinical research, a clinical platform was established within the longstanding collaboration of the Swiss TPH, the Ifakara Health Institute‚ the St. Francis Referral Hospital and the University Hospital Basel. The Ifakara Clinic platform represents a strong capacity building momentum in the three areas of service, research and training. Read more
In South Africa, Swiss TPH investigated HIV incidence in pregnancy together with researchers from the University of the Witwatersrand in a cohort of pregnant women living in and around Soweto, Johannesburg. The overall aim of the study was to determine early HIV infection among pregnant women, and to understand their sexual risk behaviors and that of their partners. Read more about the study
In collaboration with the Ministry of Health and SolidarMed, Swiss TPH tests different approaches of community-based HIV testing and counselling in rural Lesotho. To assess the coverage that can be achieved by home-based HIV testing, >6000 households in remote villages with >18'000 household members were visited in 2016 for home-based HIV testing. Read more about the GET ON project
By offering voluntary testing and counselling as well as a hospital-wide provider-initiated testing and counselling SwissTPH enrols monthly 60-120 newly diagnosed patients into care in a district hospital in rural Tanzania (St. Francis Referral Hospital, Ifakara).
Overall, in Tanzania 53% of HIV-positive people are on antiretroviral treatment. In a Swiss TPH-based project in Tanzania 89% of patients attending are under antiretroviral treatment. In October 2016 Tanzania launched the recommendation of universal antiretroviral treatment for all HIV-positive individuals, irrespective of the CD4 count.
With the CASCADE-trial – a randomized controlled trial conducted in Lesotho, Swiss TPH tests if home-based same-day start of antiretroviral therapy in individuals who test HIV-positive improves linkage to care and leads more quickly to viral suppression. Read more about the CASCADE trial
HIV mutates rapidly and if unsuppressed, can become resistant to a patient’s therapy, eventually causing AIDS. Resistance testing can determine which drugs will work for a particular patient; however, access to this costly diagnostic tool is extremely low in most resource-limited settings. Children and adolescents with HIV have poorer treatment outcomes than adults and are particularly vulnerable to delays in finding a functioning drug combination. GIVE MOVE is a multi-country (Lesotho, Tanzania) randomized clinical trial assessing if rapid resistance testing at the first measurement of an unsuppressed viral load improves health outcomes for children and adolescents living with HIV. Read more
Prevention of Mother to Child transmission is a mainstay of HIV care. Tanzania was one of the first countries to implement the so called ‚Option B+ Plan’ in 2013. Option B+ implies antiretroviral treatment for all HIV positive pregnant women during and after pregnancy irrespective of CD4 cell count together with an intrapartum treatment of the mother and a postpartum treatment of the baby for the first 6 weeks of life. With this, transmission rates fell from 30% to 9%. Within a specific programme run by SwissTPH – the One Stop Clinic – offering care for HIV-positive pregnant women and their families, the rate could be reduced further to 2%.
One of the most cost effective approaches to combat the HIV epidemic consists in increasing and assuring the use of condoms among the sexually active population. Social marketing through offering subsidized products is a commonly used strategy in HIV prevention. In consequence, Swiss TPH supports the social marketing of male and female condoms by national marketing associations along behavioural changes among adolescents and high risks groups such as lorry drivers or female sex workers. In Congo, the Central Africa Republic, Cameroun and Chad, Swiss TPH could over the last decade contribute to improve the accessibility and use of male and female condoms thereby making a significant contribution to the reduction of new HIV/AIDS cases. Read more about the HIV/AIDS prevention project in Central Africa
Talking about sexuality and rights is not easy for young people. Talking about sexuality and rights in fragile and conflict-affected areas is even harder. The people behind the Jeune S3 programme believe that access to information and services about Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) is a fundamental right for every young person to live a healthy life and make free, secure choices for their futures. Jeune S3 is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and managed by a large consortium led by the NGO Cordaid. The programme aims to ensure that young people, including the most marginalized and vulnerable populations – especially girls between the ages of 10 and 14, are able, motivated and have the opportunity to make informed choices about their (SRHR) and that their sexual and reproductive rights are respected. By 2020, Jeune S3 aims to reach more than a million young people in the most fragile areas of Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Watch the Jeune S3 video