The Genital Inflammation Test (GIFT) is being developed to improve the health of women in resource-limited settings like Africa, where women with asymptomatic sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and bacterial vaginosis (BV) face a high burden of HIV infection and adverse birth outcomes. Elevated genital inflammation is commonly found in these asymptomatic STIs/BV women. However, in resource-limited settings, women are only treated when they present with clinical signs or symptoms known as syndromic management. Thus, the development of a point-of-care test is needed to detect genital inflammation to improve access to treatment for women with asymptomatic STIs/BV. GIFT will thereby contribute to reducing HIV infections and reproductive health complications. More information about GIFT can be found in the link below.


The Vaginal Microbiome Research Consortium (VMRC) is multidisciplinary group of researchers seeking to understand the human vaginal microbiota and factors affecting its stability. Their overarching goal is to develop products and interventions aimed at improving vaginal health in women. VMRC4AFRICA is an African PI-led initiative that brings together researchers from several African countries with the aim of characterising the natural dynamics of vaginal microbiomes from women across the continent and facilitating clinical trials to investigate the efficacy of novel microbiome-directed treatments for BV in a regionally-relevant way.  Standardisation of analysis pipelines between member groups as well as the establishment of geographically representative microbial culture collections ensure that researchers participating in VMRC4AFRICA work together toward the common goal of improving vaginal health outcomes in Africa.


The WISHing for Wellness (W4W) project was launched through the Wellcome Trust International Social Engagement Award (2016-2017). This pilot study focused on sexual reproductive health (SRH) in adolescents and the facilitators and barriers to achieving this. An integrated art approach involving twenty young women aged 16-20 years from the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation Youth Centre was used to address the hypothesis that sexual risk behavior is partly shaped by the environment in which individuals develop. During the course of the study, the girls were able to promote dialogue around SRH, create art (Body maps and Stories from the Edge) and craft work about their understanding of SRH. The girls also visited UCT to learn about scientific methods and the research conducted in the MIG laboratory. The W4W brochure found in the link below provides a detailed information on the W4W study.


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