The Manicaland HIV/STD Prevention Project: Studies on HIV transmission, impact and control in rural Zimbabwe
The Manicaland HIV/STD Prevention Project is a major collaborative scientific research initiative that has been underway in rural areas of eastern Zimbabwe since the early 1990s. The principal collaborating institutions in the project have been the Biomedical Research and Training Institute and the Blair Research Institute, each based in Harare, Family AIDS Caring Trust, based in Mutare and Rusape, and the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Imperial College in London (formerly based at the University of Oxford). In its early years, the primary aim of the project was to assess the severity of the HIV epidemic in rural areas of Zimbabwe. Two rural areas in Manicaland were chosen as the initial sites for the study on the basis that one (Honde Valley in Mutasa District) was relatively accessible by tarred road to urban centres whilst the other (Rusitu Valley in Chimanimani District) had a similar cultural and socio-economic background but lay in one of the most remote corners of the country. In this article, we describe the main findings of the Manicaland HIV/STD Prevention Project to date. In the process, we highlight some of the principal challenges faced in the search for effective measures to control the HIV epidemic. We also emphasise the need to identify and develop HIV control strategies that reflect spatial and temporal variations in the local socio-economic and epidemiological context.
The Zimbabwe Science News Volume 35 (1+ 2) 2001, pp. 27-42