Phylogenetics And Networks for Generalised HIV Epidemics in Africa


The Rakai Health Sciences Program And Johns Hopkins University

The Rakai Health Sciences Program (RHSP), situated in rural Rakai District, southwestern Uganda, was established in 1988. The Program is a collaboration between the Uganda Virus Research Institute, and researchers at Makerere University in Kampala, Johns Hopkins University (JHU), and the US National


Institutes of Health, among others.  The District is bounded on the east by Lake Victoria, on the south by Tanzania and by the TransAfrican highway to the north; the major highway/trading route between Tanzania and Uganda transects Rakai. 

HIV was first observed in Rakai District in 1981.  The RHSP focuses on HIV and related infections and co-morbidities, and conducts studies which encompass descriptive population-based epidemiology, molecular epidemiology, demographic effects of HIV, geospatial distribution of the virus, basic virological and immunological research, clinical studies, behavioral research, and individually and community randomized trials of HIV prevention interventions (the latter have included trials of male circumcision, STD control for HIV prevention, and HSV-2 suppression to delay HIV disease progression), as well as trials of intimate partner violence prevention and of interventions to increase demand for and adoption of HIV prevention and care.  With PEPFAR support, the RHSP also provides a broad range of HIV services, including HIV care and treatment, prevention of mother-to-child transmission, safe medical male circumcision, HIV testing and counselling, condoms and health education.

Since 1994 the Rakai Health Sciences Program (RHSP) has conducted the Rakai Community Cohort Study (RCCS).

JHU has collaborated with the Rakai Health Sciences Program since 1994.  The principal JHU collaborators with the Rakai Program have appointments in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Department of Epidemiology and the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutes Department of Medicine.   Within the Pangea consortium, JHU researchers will collaborate with RHSP scientists in the analyses of RCCS phylogentic and epidemiological data in order to better elucidate the special and temporal spread of the HIV epidemic in the Rakai region, and will collaborate on consortium-wide analyses and publications.