Multi-sectorial Approach to Address Persistent Drivers of the HIV Epidemic in East Africa

The Sustainable East Africa Research in Community Health (SEARCH) consortium designs and tests evidence based treatment and prevention interventions that will guide a global effort to end AIDS using a multi-disease, multi-sector approach.  

What is SEARCH?

The SEARCH  (Sustainable East Africa Research in Community Health) consortium is excited to announce a new 5 year, 23 million dollar NIH-funded research program designed to design and test evidence based treatment and prevention interventions that will guide a global effort to end AIDS using a multi-disease, multi-sector approach.  ​

​Since 2012, Drs. Diane Havlir (UCSF), Moses Kamya (Makerere University) and Maya Petersen (UCB) have co-led SEARCH with the goal to evaluate bold health interventions at the community level that inform policy makers and funding agencies through the inclusion of health, economic and education parameters and through innovative, efficient study designs.

​To date, SEARCH has more than 70 publications, has been featured in a Emmy prize winning segment on PBS NewsHour, and presented at numerous high-profile international conferences on key findings such as:

  • A novel hybrid, mobile approach of multiple-disease community health campaigns followed by home-based testing reached and exceeded UNAIDS 90-90-90 target and resulted in a population-level viral suppression target of 82%. 
  • A  multi-disease community level approach to HIV to test and treat led to 20% fewer HIV deaths, reduced the incidence of HIV and tuberculosis (TB), and improved control of hypertension and diabetes.
  • Among persons with advanced HIV disease, the SEARCH intervention model accelerated treatment start and reduced mortality at a population level with 27% fewer deaths.
  • The SEARCH intervention reduced mother-to-child HIV transmission and increased HIV free survival among infants born to mothers with HIV.
  • Population-level PrEP offered was associated with 79% lower HIV incidence among PrEP initiators with follow-up HIV testing than among recent matched controls in the absence of PrEP.

What is SEARCH Sapphire?

The new program, SEARCH Sapphire: “A Multisectoral Strategy to Address Persistent drivers of the HIV epidemic in East Africa” will aim to accelerate the path to HIV elimination with new innovative combination strategies for HIV prevention and treatment that are effective, efficient, scalable and reduce preventable infections and deaths. Training, nurturing and providing opportunities for UCSF and international junior investigators is foundational the to mission of SEARCH. 

Collaborators for this study include Kenya Medical Research Institute) in Kenya, Infectious Diseases Research Collaboration and Makerere University in Uganda, University of California Berkeley, University of Massachusetts Amherst, University of Pennsylvania, and University College London and will be conducted in East Africa.