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By Scott Geibel, Director, Project SOAR, Population Council & Eileen Yam, Deputy Director, Project SOAR, Population Council
Recent advances in the global HIV response hold great promise for achieving control of the HIV epidemic. With support from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Project SOAR has conducted implementation science research, generating evidence to inform and improve the provision of life-saving HIV prevention and treatment. Our research studies and activities have utilized a wide variety of methodologies, producing timely evidence and data for use by programmers and policymakers in guiding the HIV response. These methodologies include population-based surveys, randomized controlled trials, cross-sectional assessments, secondary data analysis, mathematical modeling, and costing assessments.
In the newly launched PLOS Special Collection “Project SOAR: robust evidence to improve the global HIV response“, the published and forthcoming papers present SOAR studies conducted in sub-Saharan Africa that evaluated innovative service delivery approaches, modeled their cost and impact, and elucidated social barriers to care such as gender and stigma. The Collection also focuses on the effects of recent changes in policy and discourse on mitigating the HIV epidemic in a variety of settings, including the adoption of “Treat All” guidelines, reallocation of financial resources based on geographic and population HIV prevalence, and increased attention to men, adolescent girls, and young women.
The current papers provide empirical evidence for strengthening and sustaining HIV services, including HIV testing, prevention of mother-to-child transmission, and delivery of clinic- and community-based treatment. Moreover, they examine the effects of service integration, such as incorporating youth peer mentoring into ART services. Finally, the Collection highlights the importance of research utilization by examining how countries have used research to guide their response toward key populations.
Taken together, the Collection is a strong voice for the value of HIV implementation science research.
About Project SOAR
Led by the Population Council in partnership with Avenir Health, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Johns Hopkins University, Palladium, and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Project SOAR (Supporting Operational AIDS Research) consists of more than 70 research activities in 24 countries. SOAR is funded by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Featured Image Credit: Kate Gannett Merrill, Johns Hopkins University