UKZN Study on Hormone Contraceptives and HIV Wins AwardGeneral

Dr Sinaye Ngcapu.Dr Sinaye Ngcapu.

<p>A lecturer in the Department of Medical Microbiology in the College of Heath Sciences, Dr Sinaye Ngcapu, won an award at the recent International AIDS Conference in Durban for a paper he submitted.</p> <p>The paper was titled: &ldquo;Effect of Injectable Hormonal Contraceptives on Vaginal Epithelium Thickness and Genital HIV Target Cell Density in Women Recently Infected with HIV&rdquo;.</p> <p>It was chosen as the winning abstract from among over 6 700 papers submitted to the AIDS conference through&nbsp; a committee of representatives from UNAIDS, the International Community of Women Living with HIV, the International Research Centre for Women, and the International AIDS Society.&nbsp;</p> <p>News of Ngcapu&rsquo;s success was carried in both <em>The Mercury</em> and <em>Cape Times</em> newspapers.</p> <p>The study, completed in three years, focuses on the influence of the use of injectable hormone contraceptives on the risk of HIV infection in the context of the heterosexual epidemic in South Africa, and the potentially confounding effect of DMPA, also known as Depo-Provera.</p> <p>Said Ngcapu: &lsquo;I have never had the luxury of being a full time student as I need to work to support myself through my studies.&nbsp; Despite this, I have consistently aimed for excellence.&rsquo;</p> <p>Ngcapu, who expressed how grateful, humbled and honoured he was to have received the award, said he would continue with his research &lsquo;asking what the role of the vaginal bacteria is and how it impacts on HIV acquisition&rsquo;. He said various practices, such as washing the vagina with soap, could contribute towards an imbalance. &lsquo;You need certain bacteria to keep the vagina healthy.&rsquo;</p>

Sinenhlanhla Ngubane