Last Sunday of January is World Leprosy day

The Leprosy Mission’s Dr Laubscher shared the following message from leprosy patients: They are keen to speak about the disease and address issues of stigma They don’t want other cases to wait for decades for treatment They want to be part of health education They are convinced that there are many undiagnosed cases They don’t want their families to suffer They want to be heard by the Department of Health Their independence is important to them They are interested in economic development of people with disabilities For more information contact Dr Laubscher... read more

Academic day for BRIGHT PhD candidates and students

PhD Candidates Pavitra Pillay, Nonhlanhla Mbathi and Dr Hashini Galappaththi-Arachchige presented their work, as well as practical and ethical aspects of research on reproductive tract disease. Masters Student and Teacher Edmore Mazani discussed his protocol for use in rural schools and Dr Sigve Holmen (PhD Candidate), Harding Hospital, presented possibilities for diagnostic tools. Our former Masters Student Adele Munsami, now PhD Candidate at CAPRISA presented her upcoming article from the Departments of Psychology and Public Health whilst academic Assistant Lea Nga Tran (MEcon) presented data on teenagers and their willingness to participate in research.               Four medical students from Norway visited the project together with Professor Borghild Roald. They did their very first presentations in English and did well: Lynn Duong, Cornelia Kristiansen, Kristine Hjetland and Ingunn... read more

PhD thesis on HIV susceptibility related to HIV target cells and cervical ectopy

A study of South African women living in a rural area endemic of urogenital schistosomiasis. PhD Candidate Elisabeth Kleppa of University of Oslo successfully defended her PhD with opponents Agnes Chenine and Per Kallestrup. More than 110 million Africans are estimated to be infected with Schistosoma (S.) haematobium, but it is still one of the so-called “neglected tropical diseases”. Poor countries bear the majority of the disease burden, contributing to the maintenance of the cycle of poverty. In Africa, women are at a higher risk of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection than men, and this cannot be explained by behavioural factors alone. Biological risk factors seem to contribute to the differences in HIV prevalence between geographical regions and genders. This thesis will focus on female genital schistosomiasis and cervical ectopy, both factors hypothesised to facilitate the transmission of HIV through the genital mucosa. Genital schistosomiasis in women is characterized by lesions referred to as “sandy patches” that appear grainy or homogenous and are thought to be caused by the deposition of ova in the genital tissues. Sandy patches are often associated with abnormal mucosal blood vessels and contact bleeding due to the fragile mucosa. Cervical ectopy and female genital schistosomiasis (FGS) may be diagnosed by photocolposcopic examination, and both conditions are likely to be present before sexual debut. In addition to increased susceptibility to HIV infection, S. haematobium infection has been suggested to accelerate the progression of HIV infection, possibly through increased immune activation. In this study, South African women attending high schools in KwaZulu-Natal were included. Blood, urine and cervical lavage samples were collected and a photocolposcopic examination... read more