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Research

Desmond Tutu HIV Centre

The Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation (DTHF), housed within the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre (DTHC) in the IDM, is committed to the pursuit of excellence in research, treatment, training and prevention of HIV and related infections in Southern Africa. The Foundation, supported by the Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and his wife, Leah, has been in existence as a “not for profit” organization since 2004.

The DTHC is an accredited research grouping within the University of Cape Town and is supported in its work by the DTHF. The research, clinical and community outreach staff of the Foundation share a common agreed purpose to lessen the impact of the HIV epidemic on individuals, families and communities, through innovation and their passion for humanity. Fully self- funded by grants and other investigator raised funds, our shared vision for the future includes the continuation of current TB/HIV related work of treatment, care, prevention and education particularly in the most vulnerable populations, whilst staying abreast of new developments and continuing to contribute to cutting edge information in HIV and TB public health, social and clinical research.

The DTHC has a broad research mandate that spans across a number of disciplines. Its main activities are divided into the following key areas:

  • Treatment of HIV
  • Prevention of HIV
  • Adolescent Health and Prevention
  • Behavioural Science
  • Tuberculosis
  • Maternal and Child Health
  • Men’s Health
  • Mobile Services
  • Health promotion and health rights for Key Populations
  • Primary Health care screening
  • HIV related opportunistic infections


Over the last few years the DTHF has published over 500 peer reviewed publications and numerous book chapters, policy documents, training manuals and other publications.

The Centre works predominantly in the Western Cape Province, and maintains a commitment to strong community involvement with 5 well established and well organized community research sites as well as mobile and facility based projects. A few illustrative examples of projects completed include:

  • Rapid initiation of antiretrovirals in HIV-infected pregnant women to reduce vertical HIV transmission
  • Utilization of lay workers to enhance adherence to HIV and TB treatment
  • Use of community based ART distribution to facilitate scale up of treatment
  • Implementation of mobile community based HIV testing with screening for other chronic diseases thereby reducing stigma and increasing community acceptability of preventive health.

Members of the IDM based in the DTHC are Emeritus Professor Robin Wood (CEO), Professor Linda-Gail Bekker (COO), Associate Professor Catherine Orrell and Dr Keren Middelkoop.

The Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation and Centre: http://desmondtutuhivfoundation.org.za/