WHO estimates that about 4 million people were receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) in low- and middle-income countries by the end of 2008, a 10-fold increase over the past 5 years (WHO 2009). In Southern Africa, reported HIV prevalence is particularly high reaching over 30% in some regions.
With the rapid scale-up of antiretroviral treatment (ART) delivery in Southern Africa, there is an urgent need to answer key questions about service design and delivery, as well as the effectiveness of ART in individual patients.
The IeDEA Southern Africa (IeDEA-SA) collaboration is part of the International Databases to Evaluate AIDS (IeDEA) (see www.iedea-hiv.org), a worldwide initiative aiming to collect data and to establish an international research consortium to address unique and evolving research questions in HIV/AIDS. IeDEA is funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) (see www.niaid.nih.gov). The coordination and data centers of IeDEA-SA are located in Bern, Switzerland and Cape Town, South Africa and complement each other technically and scientifically. By improving the capacity of participating centres to collect relevant data and the establishment of a regional research network, the project has the potential to make important strategic contributions to this field.
The overarching aims of IeDEA-SA are to conduct clinical, epidemiological and health services research in order to inform HIV/AIDS and TB service delivery in the region, to increase the capacity for delivering ART, and, ultimately, to improve the prognosis of people living with HIV and AIDS in Southern Africa. The scientific agenda responds to the operational and clinical research priorities identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) and opinion leaders in the field and focuses on questions that cannot be answered by one site.
The current database (April 2010) includes data on more than 185,318 adults and 22,154 children on ART and 58,828 HIV-positive patients not on ART in Southern African countries (Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe).