Let's Talk HIV Prevention - Current HIV Prevention Research

This event is part of the 2011 Let’s Talk HIV Prevention series sponsored by the Enterprise. For more information about these events, click here.

City, Country:  Masaka, Uganda


 Organization Hosting Event:  Medical Research Council/Uganda Virus Research Institute, Uganda Research Unit on AIDS

 Organization’s website:

Date/Time:  Wednesday, 18 May 2011, 9:00-16:00

Location:  Muteesa I Royal University Main Hall, Masaka Municipality, Uganda

Event Report (submitted by the hosting organization):

The event, part of the worldwide 2011 series code named “Lets’ Talk HIV Prevention” was sponsored by the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise and hosted by the MRC/UVRI Masaka research centre in commemoration of the HIV Vaccine Awareness Day. The centre has worked closely with host communities to conduct large scale clinical and epidemiological studies covering sexually transmitted infections, vaginal microbicides, HIV vaccine studies, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and other HIV prevention research.


The event day was preceded by a one hour radio phone-in talk show hosted by a popular local FM radio station on 10th May 2011. A study physician and a community specialist highlighted the theme of the Lets’ talk HIV Prevention series, a brief on the research centre’s activities and answered questions from the callers.  There was good listenership as evidenced by the number of questions.

The target beneficiaries of the event were tertiary and university students. A total of 142 students from three universities (Muteesa I Royal University, Uganda Martyrs’ University, and Kampala University) and Masaka School of Comprehensive nursing attended.

Event goals
The search for new HIV preventive technologies has been going for a number of years. In some instances, the challenges and successes remain unknown to the wider community outside scientific circles. However, HIV prevention needs the support of host communities. Research processes and results are more acceptable and meaningful if studies are carried out in partnership with well informed communities.   The event goals were therefore to:

•    Share current updates in the field of HIV/AIDS epidemiology and prevention research
•    Promote community HIV/AIDS prevention awareness among community stake holders who are potential change agents
•    Obtain feedback and answer any questions about HIV/AIDS prevention research

Topics covered included research updates on global and local HIV epidemiology, microbicides, Medical Male circumcision, PrEP and HIV Vaccines. Key presenters included: Dr. Eugene Ruzagira (coordinator, HIV Vaccine studies) Dr. Freddie Mukasa Kibengo (coordinator, PrEP trial), Ms. Grace Akampumuza (senior HIV/AIDS counsellor and advocate for women rights) and Rev. Eriab Nkambo Mugerwa (CAB member). They were joined by Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Katabaazi and Mr. Tomusange Kayinja (CAB members), Mr. Richard Rwanyonga (senior HIV/AIDS counsellor) and Vincent Basajja (Community specialist) to constitute a panel during the question answer sessions.

A wide range of questions were asked which generated very interesting and informative discussions.
Notably, among the many issues discussed was the renewed hope for an HIV Vaccine. This was after one of the slides in the presentations gave a history of vaccine development for a number of epidemics. Some participants pledged their willingness not only to support HIV prevention but also to participate in HIV prevention studies. “We have been with this epidemic for over 20 years; to me I did know that a lot of research is underway to find solutions. This dialogue has given me hope that one day HIV/AIDS will be no more”. One participant remarked.

There is need to provide more opportunities for scientist to interact with students. This would help them become informed change agents in their communities in spreading HIV prevention awareness. The MRC/UVRI intends to solicit for support to engage a wide range of stakeholders in similar HIV prevention dialogue.

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