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August 10, 1994

The Public Health Implications of AIDS Research in Africa

Author Affiliations

From Projet RETRO-CI, Abidjan, Ivory Coast (Drs De Cock and Ekpini); Division of HIV/AIDS, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Ga (Drs De Cock and Gayle); National AIDS Control Programme, Abidjan, Ivory Coast (Dr Gnaore); and Infectious Diseases Service, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Treichville, Abidjan, Ivory Coast (Professor Kadio). Dr De Cock is now with the Department of Clinical Sciences, London (England) School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

JAMA. 1994;272(6):481-486. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520060081036

The human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) epidemic has led to greatly increased international collaboration for medical research, mainly epidemiologic in nature, in Africa. Greater understanding of HIV/AIDS has resulted, and considerable training and technology transfer have occurred. However, analytic and descriptive research in countries heavily affected by AIDS has been slow to turn to assessment of interventions, and practical benefits to those countries' public health and policies have lagged behind scientific knowledge. This article considers the public health implications of selected HIV/AIDS research in sub-Saharan Africa and discusses opportunities for interventions and more applied research. Topics covered include HIV testing and its role, surveillance, control of sexually transmitted diseases, the vulnerability of youth and women, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS care, and the inadequacy of resources currently committed to HIV/AIDS prevention and control in resource-poor countries. Research on HIV/AIDS in Africa has yielded crucial information but now should prioritize interventions and their evaluation. Specific goals that might limit the effects of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in resource-poor countries are achievable given vision, commitment, and resources.

(JAMA. 1994;272:481-486)