South Africa has the biggest and most high-profile HIV epidemic in the world, with an estimated 7.2 million people living with HIV in 2017. South Africa accounts for a third of all new HIV infections in southern Africa.In 2017, there were 270,000 new HIV infections and 110,000 South Africans died from AIDS-related illnesses.South Africa also has the largest antiretroviral treatment (ART) programme in the world. The Clinical HIV Research Unit (CHRU) therefore has access to the largest population of people on HIV treatment worldwide. Its activities comprise academic research and technical assistance ranging from Phase I to IV clinical trials and including implementation sciences.
CHRU participates in major global multi-centre clinical trials and is an internationally recognised multi-disciplinary research group that continues to increase its grant-funded support, publication output and postgraduate research output. It has an excellent track record of enrollment in trials, based on its coordinated and effective community engagement programmes, which ensure ongoing access to relevant trial populations.
CHRU is well known for regularly being the first to open new network studies, based on its standing with regulatory authorities, its rapid submission timeline and highly responsive team. The Unit maintains excellent data quality as well as participant recruitment and retention records.
Its success can also be attributed to the outstanding access to research populations. Development of the treatment site at Helen Joseph Hospital has included the establishment of a comprehensive database, known as the Themba Lethu Cohort. This cohort includes a database of over 47 000 patients, leading to a number of outcome evaluations, and has been an important source of publications. The highest standards of clinical services for participants are ensured.
Over 50 antiretroviral therapy (ART) studies in Phase I-III research have been completed by CHRU.
The Unit also provides academic research and technical assistance, ranging from Phase I to IV clinical trials to implementation sciences.