The APRP was an affiliate of Harvard University from August 2007 through April 2010 under a grant from the John Templeton Foundation. All content is archived as of June 1, 2010.



May 5, 2008

APRP NEWS & EVENTS

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1. Dr. Edward C. Green makes second trip to Botswana to meet with members of Botswanan Parliament and National AIDS Coordinating Agency
 

2. Dr. Green invited to be on Programmatic Response working group for UNAIDS' "aids2031" initiative

  

3. Dr. Green heads 4-country study that aims to involve Traditional Political Authorities in AIDS prevention

4. Dr. Daniel Halperin is appointed as Lecturer on International Health in the Department of Population and International Health, Harvard School of Public Health

5. Jennifer Goldsmith joins APRP as Administrative Director

PRESENTATIONS BY APRP RESEARCHERS

6. Dr. Green is interviewed on Dan Rather Reports

7. Dr. Halperin lectures at a short course organized by Imperial College London and Harvard School of Public Health

8. Dr. Halperin presents to UNAIDS Reference Group on Estimates, Modeling and Projection in London

9. Dr. Halperin gives presentation at Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health/JHPIEGO

10. Dr. Halperin is invited participant at Gates Foundation Meeting to address HIV prevention

11. Timothy Mah presents research on concurrency to Takemi Fellows at Harvard School of Public Health

12. Dr. Green presents "Reality Check: Exposing Myths, Engaging Religions, and Rethinking AIDS Prevention in Africa " at Harvard Divinity School

ARTICLES & PUBLICATIONS BY THE APRP RESEARCHERS

13. "AIDS and the Churches: Getting the Story Right" (Edward C. Green and Allison Herling Ruark, First Things, April 2008)

14. Male circumcision for HIV prevention: from evidence to action? (Weiss HA, Halperin D, Bailey RC, Hayes RJ, Schmid G, Hankins CA. AIDS 2008; 22: 567-574.)


APRP NEWS & EVENTS

1. Dr. Edward C. Green makes second trip to Botswana to meet with members of Botswanan Parliament and National AIDS Coordinating Agency

At the end of March Dr. Green traveled to Botswana , where he followed up his December address in Parliament with a number of meetings with government officials and representatives of the UN, PEPFAR, and various NGOs. Botswana is currently formulating a National Strategic Plan, and there is considerable will among all major prevention partners to redirect Botswana ’s prevention strategies in ways that are more evidence-based and behaviorally focused. The need to focus on multiple concurrent partners, cross-generational sex, and other forms of risky sex in culturally resonant ways has been recognized. Dr. Green, along with APRP Project Associate Dr. Norman Hearst, will continue to serve as an advisor to the Botswanan National AIDS Committee.

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2. Dr. Green invited to be on Programmatic Response working group for UNAIDS' "aids2031" initiative

Dr. Green has been invited to join the Programmatic Response working group for UNAIDS'
"aids2031" initiative. One of the goals of this working group is to plan and reformulate AIDS prevention strategies in ways that are "more sustainable, and that address the points raised by some of UNAIDS' fiercest critics." Paul Farmer, Jim Kim, Nancy Padian and Ambassador Jimmy Kolker also serve on this committee. The first meeting was held in Geneva , Switzerland on May 1-2.

For more information about aids2031, visit www.aids2031.org.

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3. Dr. Green heads 4-country study that aims to involve Traditional Political Authorities in AIDS prevention

Dr. Green is directing a 4-country study ( South Africa , Swaziland , Zambia , and Botswana ) of traditional political authorities (TPAs) and indigenous adjudication, and the social norms governing sexual behavior and gender relations. In Phase I of the study, focus groups have been held with a variety of traditional political authorities, as well as community members, in South Africa . In early April Dr. Green participated in a focus group with amakhosi (kings and princes of major ethnic groups) in South Africa .

The expected Phase II of this study will be a project in which AIDS prevention interventions are informed and guided by indigenous knowledge, leaders and organizations. The goal of Phase II will be to develop an approach that enlists traditional political authorities, among others at the grassroots, as partners in influencing sexual behavior and reducing or eliminating violence toward girls and women.

One type of intervention might be to bring the right type of AIDS prevention information, and influence on gender relations, to young people during their rites of passage. These rites usually involve periods of seclusion during which times young men and women are taught by same-sex elders how to become responsible, caring adults in society. This could work as a positive "lever for change" in societies where these rites are still practiced and important (e.g., Zulu, Xhosa, Swazi).

Another intervention might be to make crimes of violence against girls and women and girls—which are usually adjudicated in rural areas by chief's councils—more punishable than is typically the case. For example, instead of a levying a small one to five dollar fine,  a rapist or child molester would be punished more severely. Changing national laws in this direction helped change this type of behavior and reduce sexual crimes in Uganda . This effort would be parallel to any such national initiatives involving formal legal systems, and would attempt to influence traditional courts and adjudicators in the same direction.

The study and future intervention is being implemented through the Ubuntu Institute, directed by Mr. Cedza Dlamini, with support from the W.K. Kellogg and Ford Foundations.

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4. Dr. Daniel Halperin is appointed as Lecturer on International Health in the Department of Population and International Health, Harvard School of Public Health

On April 1, Dr. Halperin received an appointment of Lecturer on International Health in the Department of Population and International Health, Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Halperin also taught a spring course, “HIV/AIDS in Developing Countires: Epidemiology and National Responses.” This graduate-level course aimed to provide a broad understanding of the distinct features of the HIV epidemic in developing regions, and the evolution of national responses against HIV/AIDS in selected countries. The course focused on the status of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in developing countries, factors contributing to the severity of the epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa and other developing regions, and strategies that could be used to reduce further spread of the pandemic. Guest lecturers included faculty and practioners from Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard Medical School , Abt Associates and Partners in Health. APRP Research Fellow Timothy Mah served as the Teaching Assistant.

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5. Jennifer Goldsmith joins APRP as Administrative Director

Ms. Goldsmith holds a Master's in Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health and is a former Assistant Dean at Harvard University 's Faculty of Arts and Sciences. She brings to this position considerable administrative experience as well as passion for solving global health challenges.

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PRESENTATIONS BY APRP RESEARCHERS

6. Dr. Green is interviewed on Dan Rather Reports

The news program Dan Rather Reports interviewed Dr. Green for the April 1 episode “Both Sides of the Fence,” which examined the controversy over HIV prevention strategies and programs in Africa . Dr. Green defended the effectiveness of interventions that promote faithfulness, stating that in every case of HIV decline in Africa this decline has been associated with decreases in number of sexual partners. He also questioned the wisdom of relying on condom use as a primary prevention strategy, when most condom usage is inconsistent and inconsistent users in fact have riskier sexual behavior and higher HIV prevalence.

click here to view the episode online

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7. Dr. Halperin lectures at a short course organized by Imperial College London and Harvard School of Public Health

Dr. Halperin gave a lecture entitled "HIV/AIDS, PEFPAR, and Health Systems" at the short course "Analysing Health Systems, Understanding Health Systems Reforms", organized by Imperial College, UK Department for International Development, and Harvard School of Public Health and held on February 26 in London. The course was attended by researchers and health program professionals from a number of organizations and countries, including several from Africa .

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8. Dr. Halperin presents to UNAIDS Reference Group on Estimates, Modeling and Projection in London

On February 29, Dr. Halperin presented "Measuring and Interpreting Concurrency: Quality, Validity & Importance of Behavioral Data" at a meeting of the UNAIDS Reference Group on Estimates, Modeling, and Projection, in London . Dr. Halperin urged the group to conduct research and analysis into the important HIV factor of concurrent and other multiple partnerships and sexual networks.

click here to view Dr. Halperin's Powerpoint presentation

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9. Dr. Halperin gives presentation at Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health/JHPIEGO

Dr. Halperin spoke to a standing room only audience at Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health/JHPIEGO in Baltimore , on April 2, 2008. His presentation on the epidemiological and prevention aspects of the HIV pandemics was followed by a vigorous discussion about what has worked and not worked so well in HIV prevention, especially regarding issues of promoting sexual behavior change and male circumcision services. Several members of Christian Connections for International Health (CCIH) were in attendance, and copies of The ABC Approach to Preventing the Sexual Transmission of HIV (written by Dr. Green and Allison Herling Ruark and published by CCIH) were made available. 

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10. Dr. Halperin is invited participant at Gates Foundation Meeting to address HIV prevention

Dr. Halperin was an invited participant at a Gates Foundation meeting to address HIV prevention, held April 8 in Washington , DC . This high-level, small "think tank" was convened  to brainstorm ways to improve HIV prevention approaches. Dr Halperin urged the group, which was principally made up of more biomedically- inclined health professionals, to not ignore the critical importance of sexual behavior, especially approaches to reduce multiple and concurrent partnerships.

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11. Timothy Mah presents research on concurrency to Takemi Fellows at the Harvard School of Public Health

On April 29, Timothy Mah presented “Dangerous Liaisons: Concurrent Sexual Partnerships and the South African HIV/AIDS Epidemic” to the Takemi Fellows at the Harvard School of Public Health. The talk focused on Mr. Mah’s on-going research in Khayelitsha , South Africa , which examines correlates of concurrent partnerships and the social, cultural and economic elements of sexual partnerships in relation to HIV/AIDS prevention. Professors Marc Mitchell and Richard Cash, members of the APRP Faculty Advisory Committee, were in attendance.

click here to view Mr. Mah's Powerpoint presentation

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12. Dr. Green presents "Reality Check: Exposing Myths, Engaging Religions, and Rethinking AIDS Prevention in Africa" at Harvard Divinity School

 Dr. Green addressed a crowd of 70 at this April 28 event, sponsored by the Harvard Divinity School and entitled "Reality Check: Exposing Myths, Engaging Religions, and Rethinking AIDS Prevention in Africa ." He discussed his personal journey of discovering the facts about evidence-based HIV prevention, and the success of Uganda and other countries in curbing HIV transmission through behavioral approaches. Dr. Green’s talk met a very positive reception, with students staying after the 90 minute talk to ask questions and dialogue.

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ARTICLES & PUBLICATIONS BY THE APRP

13. "AIDS and the Churches: Getting the Story Right" (Edward C. Green and Allison Herling Ruark, First Things, April 2008)

In this article the authors state, "If AIDS prevention is to be based on evidence rather than ideology or bias, then fidelity and abstinence programs need to be at the center of programs for general populations." They address many of the common myths of AIDS prevention, and argue that when churches and other faith communities respond to the HIV epidemic by addressing sexual behavior, they are in fact acting in line with the epidemiological evidence.

The article is available at First Things' website.

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14. Male circumcision for HIV prevention: from evidence to action? (Weiss HA, Halperin D, Bailey RC, Hayes RJ, Schmid G, Hankins CA. AIDS 2008; 22: 567-574.)

Three randomized control trials have shown that male circumcision reduces the risk of HIV acquisition by approximately 60%, but "translation of these research findings into public health policy is complex and will be context specific." To "guide this translation" the authors "estimate the global prevalence and distribution of male circumcision, summarize the evidence of an impact on HIV incidence, and highlight the major public health opportunities and challenges raised by these findings." This article can be accessed (for a fee) at www.aidsonline.com.

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