SA University takes lead on HIV/AIDS research

Cape Town, South Africa (PANA) - To mark the World AIDS Day, Johannesburg’s Wits University has become the first South African institution to produce the most scientific research publications pertaining to HIV/AIDS, according to a report entitled Scientometrics of a pandemic: HIV/AIDS research in South Africa and the World.

During the period 1996-2006, the university produced 473 (20.42%) papers out of a national total of 2,316 publications focusing on the HIV/AIDS, followed by the University of Cape Town (19.17%) and the University of Kwazulu-Natal (18.30%).

Ten other institutions in South Africa collectively produced the remaining 42.11% of publications related to HIV/AIDS.

"This study affirms the leading role that Wits University has played at the forefront of HIV/AIDS research be it in science, the health sciences or the social sciences," said Professor Helen Laburn, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University.

"We commit to play an integral role through our teaching, research, clinical and outreach efforts to fight against this scourge which has besieged our population."

About 33 million people are currently living with HIV worldwide, of which approximately 22 million live in sub-Saharan Africa (UNAIDS Global Report 2008). South Africa carries the highest burden in the world, with an estimated 5.7 million people living with HIV in the country.

South Africa continues to produce an increasing number of HIV/AIDS-related publications, although the US holds the record for the country that publishes the most on HIV/AIDS in the world.

According to the analysis, South African researchers focus on the following subject areas in particular -- Immunology, public health, virology and paediatrics in relation to HIV/AIDS and collaborate mainly with researchers in the US, England, Canada and France.

About 5.5% of South Africa's research efforts are focused on HIV/AIDS related research, while the USA dedicates only 2.2% of its national research to HIV/AIDS, followed by the UK at 1.7%.

Western countries also tend to publish more on diseases like cancer, which affect their respective populations more than HIV/AIDS.
-0- PANA CU/VAO 1Dec2010

01 december 2010 15:52:38

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