The HSRC and HIV and AIDS

The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), as an institution dedicated to social science that makes a difference, sees research into the social aspects of HIV and AIDS as critical to both decreasing new infections and increasing the effectiveness of the treatment and care of those already infected.

We believe that for every medical aspect of the disease, there are social dimensions to consider. For instance, while condoms are theoretically a very effective way of preventing transmission, there are cultural and behavioural issues around their use that need to be understood and addressed in order for them to be adopted. In the interests of more effective interventions, the HSRC seeks to research these issues and influence policy and programmes.

The HSRC also conducts South Africa’s cultural and demographic survey, a ground-breaking study that for the first time in 2002 demonstrated levels of infection in South Africa by age, gender, location and race. The study was done again in 2005 and the 2008 survey is currently underway.

Three units of the HSRC have extensive expertise in the area of HIV and AIDS research: