Welcome to Stellenbosch University

Unit for Research on Health & Society


Active Projects:

Alcohol-related HIV risks among South African women (Cape Town)

A multilevel prospective analysis of alcohol-related HIV/AIDS risks among women who drink in alcohol serving establishments (shebeens, taverns and bottle stores) in Cape Town South Africa. Our analysis is grounded in Social Action Theory and incorporates factors derived from three levels of analysis: structural/environmental, social/interpersonal, and individual.

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HIV risk reduction for South African youth: Creating a trauma-informed family-based intervention

The objective of this project is to develop a family-based preventive intervention for families before their children become sexually active. The central hypothesis that guides our work is that enhancing caregivers' capacity to care (i.e., parenting), and addressing specific needs related to HIV and violence in parent's lives, will contribute to reduced risk and vulnerability among children and young adolescents. 

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A South African Pilot Worksite Parenting Program to Prevent HIV among Adolescents

In this project we adapt and pilot test a worksite-based intervention for parents of adolescents aged 10-14 in SA. The goals of the intervention are to increase parent-adolescent communication about sex and HIV; to change parents' and adolescents' relevant attitudes, self-efficacy, norms, and intentions; to reduce HIV stigma; and ultimately to decrease HIV risk. The proposed program builds on the foundation of our successful US worksite-based intervention, Talking Parents, Healthy Teens (TPHT).

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Emotional-behavioural disorders in South African children affected by AIDS:

This study is in line with the NIHM objective of developing assessment tools in mental health for children affected by HIV/AIDS especially in developing countries. The aims of the study are to standardize the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) for a Sesotho speaking population and to investigate the mental health difference among three groups of primary school-aged children, namely AIDS orphans; non-AIDS orphans and non-orphans. In addition to these aims, the study will also contribute to the understanding the role of poverty and caregiver Substance Use Disorder (SUD) in the development of Emotional-Behavioural Disorders (EBD) in children affected and unaffected by AIDS will lay the foundation for school based intervention work or offer much needed direction in targeting current interventions more effectively.

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Older Projects:

Phumelela Health Project (Site B, Khayelitsha)

Health education research project being conducted with the Medical College of Wisconsin in cooperation with Site B Youth Clinic. The project is comparing the effects of different types of HIV/STI information programmes and different kinds of interviews for people receiving clinic services. We are also looking at the impact of doing research on the evaluation of this counselling intervention.






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Orphans and vulnerable children: Evaluation of the DISC (Bloemfontein area)

Tests the validity of a short and easy-to-administer population screen for emotional-behaviour disorders in children against a semi-structured interview-based measure (the NIMH Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children; DISC) as gold standard. While the DISC has shown feasibility in the South African context, its cultural validity has not yet been explored and the purpose of the current study is to address this concern by conducting a qualitative study of the cultural validity of the DISC.

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 HIV and people with disabilities in Southern Africa (Malawi & Namibia)

Pilot research primarily aims to explore issues of HIV/AIDS including sexual and reproductive health amongst disabled people and secondarily the assumptions made within policy and practise which might lead to gaps in coverage on aspects related to reproductive health care due to perceptions that disabled people lack sexuality and this inevitably places them in situations of considerable vulnerability.

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Cell-Life Evaluation of the Mass Channel communication tool (Cape Town & Limpopo)

Involves the direct use of cell phones to provide information to those people who are infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. This study aims to focus firstly on looking at what information is most needed by the communities and organisations through which the pilot project will be operating. The second component includes the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of the pilot projects.

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