PHRU recognises the importance of taking a household approach to treating HIV and strives to take a comprehensive, family approach to HIV care and treatment. Whenever possible, we aim to provide services to all members of the family at the same facility in an effort to ease the burden of care for our clients. In addition, PHRU conducts important HIV and TB household research.


In 2002, PHRU was named as one of the primary institutions to implement the Comprehensive International Programme of Research on AIDS—South Africa (CIPRA-SA), a project focused on family and paediatric treatment and vaccine, laboratory and TB research. CIPRA-SA is a multi-disciplinary programme sponsored by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and Division of AIDS (DAIDS). Specifically, CIPRA-SA focuses on the following projects:

  • Family treatment through either a doctor format or a primary health care nurse format
  • A novel approach to paediatric treatment
  • Bacterial conjugate vaccines
  • Tuberculosis studies
  • Laboratory studies to identify inexpensive monitoring tests for HIV

CIPRA-SA is comprised of a collaboration of organizations from Johannesburg and Cape Town. Partners include the University of Cape Town (UCT), The Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation (DTHF), University of Stellenbosch (US), The Children's Infectious Diseases Clinical Research Unit (KID-CRU), and the following Wits Health Consortium divisions:

  • Perinatal HIV Research Unit (PHRU)
  • Clinical HIV Research Unit (CHRU)
  • Respiratory and Meningeal Pathogens Research Unit (RMPRU)
  • Reproductive Health Research Unit (RHRU)

For its part, PHRU oversees CIPRA-SA’s administrative core, managing all administrative, project management, statistics and data management, financial oversight, regulatory and safety reporting requirements and needs.

Learn more about the CIPRA-SA projects.

Clinical Trials and Research

In 2002-2003, PHRU conducted an innovative household survey to determine the impact of HIV/AIDS on household vulnerability and child health. The survey, which has provided invaluable data on the Soweto population, resulted in the acclaimed report, The Effects of Adult Morbidity and Mortality on Household Welfare and the Wellbeing of Children in Soweto.

Learn more about our ongoing household clinical trials and research studies.