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Overcoming HIV/Aids requires a multidisciplinary approach

Summer School 2024

Overcoming HIV/Aids requires a multidisciplinary approach

One of the stand-out features of our postgraduate diploma that makes it one of the most comprehensive and practical courses of its kind is that it looks at the HIV/Aids epidemic through a multidisciplinary lens. This has the added benefit that the knowledge that students gain can also be applied to other epidemics and pandemics.

During the summer school, students got a good taste of the diverse aspects of HIV/Aids that all require attention if we are to bring the epidemic to an end.  

Epidemiology

Dr Jeannine Uwimana-Nicol (senior researcher at the Centre for Evidence-based Health Care at Stellenbosch University) shared her expert insights on the epidemiology and control of HIV/Aids. Her presentation included global epidemiological trends relating to the HIV/Aids epidemic, biomedical interventions for HIV prevention and control, universal access to HIV testing and treatment and closing the treatment gap, progress on collaborative activities fighting comorbidities of HIV such as TB. She also provided an epidemiological perspective on the much-debated question: can we end Aids by 2030?

Social and behavioural

  • Dr Wanga Zembe-Mkabile tackled the topic of the role of and relationship between migration and poverty and HIV/Aids and the factors that influence this relationship.
  • Khadija Richards took an in-depth look at stigma and the fear and isolation it creates, with a focus on the lived experiences of HIV-related stigma and public health responses.
  • Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng shed some light on how the attitudes, beliefs and practices associated with gender and sexuality impact how we manage the HIV/Aids epidemic. She specifically focused on gender and the role of social relations in discrimination and health outcomes, highlighting the ways in which gender intersects with other vulnerabilities that contribute to an increased risk of HIV infection. She also paid attention to the impact of gender-based violence on HIV infection risk and health management, and the relevant laws and policies that set the legal framework within which gender equality, inequality and HIV are addressed.

Macroeconomic and socioeconomic impact

Prof André Roux (head of Futures Studies Programmes at the Stellenbosch University Business School) discussed the macroeconomic and socioeconomic impact of HIV/Aids and the implications for organisational practices and strategies.

Policy and legal

  • On the topic of designing and developing an HIV/Aids policy, health activist Russell Rensburg looked at the impact of how the epidemic developed in Africa on current HIV/Aids workplace policies and the process of developing an appropriate policy.
  • Prof Sarah Bosha from the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law spoke about the international legal frameworks and organisational practices regarding employees living with HIV/Aids. Her discussion of relevant historical cases in Africa made this very practical.

For a recap of any of the course content sessions, log on to SunLearn where you’ll find the recordings. The sessions were also emailed to students who at that point were not yet registered.