NIDA's research into the relationship between drug abuse and HIV/AIDS served as a focal point for two international meetings that preceded the 13th International AIDS Meeting in Durban, South Africa. NIDA-in partnership with the Center for Drug Abuse Research at Howard University in Washington, D.C., the Medical Research Council of South Africa, and other United States and South African agencies-cosponsored a conference held in Cape Town, South Africa, between July 1 and 5 on the topic "Substance Abuse, Crime, Violence, and HIV/AIDS as Consequences of Poverty: Strategies for Prevention, Intervention, and Treatment in the U.S. and South Africa." The conference brought together researchers from the U.S. and South Africa, who discussed mechanisms for building a broader research infrastructure and capacity in South Africa, as well as development and expansion of partnerships for research into the interrelationship of drug abuse, HIV/AIDS, and infectious diseases such as hepatitis and tuberculosis among populations living in poverty.
Among those discussing drug abuse at the Cape Town conference were (standing from left): O. Jackson Cole, senior associate provost, Howard University; Priscilla Reddy and Neo Morojele, South African Medical Research Council; Alfred Tsetsane and Andrew Aphane, Department of Correctional Services of South Africa; Anne Gloria Moleko, University of Pretoria/South African Alliance for Prevention of Substance Abuse; Jean Oyemade Bailey, Center for Drug Abuse Research, Howard University; Ronald Braithwaite, NIDA-funded researcher, Emory University; (seated from left) Ben Skosana, M.P., Minister of Correctional Services of South Africa; and Steve Tshwete, M.P., Minister of Safety and Security of South Africa.
NIDA Director Dr. Alan I. Leshner delivered a keynote address at the conference. In addition, Dr. Leslie Cooper, Dr. Dionne Jones, and Mr. Arnold Mills made presentations at the conference. These NIDA staff members, along with Dr. Lula Beatty, also served on the conference planning committee and acted as facilitators in conference work groups. In the work groups, participants identified ways to expand and coordinate networking mechanisms and other collaborative efforts between researchers in South Africa and the U.S., initiated development of concept papers outlining areas in which additional research might be most productive, and identified best practices for prevention and early intervention being used in each country so that research gains can be shared while remaining sensitive to cultural differences.
The Third Annual Global Research Network (GRN) Meeting on HIV Prevention in Drug-Using Populations, cosponsored by NIDA and a consortium of international organizations, was held in Durban, South Africa, July 5 through 7. NIDA was instrumental in the creation of the GRN, which focuses on the dissemination and application of research-based strategies for prevention of HIV infection among drug users.
"Our goal is to advance the scientific exchange of empirically based research data on HIV prevention strategies for drug-using populations so that HIV prevention researchers and community providers can develop and implement effective interventions," Dr. Leshner said in a keynote address.
Dr. Henry Francis, Ms. Helen Cesari, and Ms. Elizabeth Lambert of NIDA's Center on AIDS and Other Medical Consequences of Drug Abuse served on the GRN meeting's planning committee.