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Lessons from Covid-19

NACOSA was happy to work with the SAMRC once again on a research paper published in the Frontiers in Health Services looking at lessons learned from implementing health and education interventions for adolescent girls and young women during the Covid-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has been associated with reduced access to health services and worsening health outcomes for HIV and sexual and reproductive health. Through the analysis of data from an evaluation study of a combination intervention for adolescent girls and young women in South Africa, the paper examines the way in which implementation and service provision were impacted by…


Research on Safe Spaces for young women

NACOSA is proud to have co-authored a research paper with South African Medical Research Council, the University of Cape Town and the Sheffield Institute for International Development looking at feasibility and acceptability of Safe Spaces as part of HIV prevention interventions with adolescent girls and young women. The research paper was recently published in the BMC Public Health journal. Safe Spaces are a feature of HIV prevention interventions for adolescent girls and young women that NACOSA implements with funding from the Global Fund, together with two other principal recipient organisations. As part of an evaluation of this programme, researchers investigated…


Vaginal HIV prevention ring approved

South Africa’s medicines regulator, SAHPRA, has approved the new vaginal ring for use by women ages 18 and older to reduce their HIV risk. This is a major milestone, bringing the first long-acting and woman-controlled product a step closer to reaching the women who need it. What is it? The Vaginal Ring is a flexible, silicon band containing the antiretroviral medicine (ARV) dapivirine. How does it work? The ring is put into the vagina every month and slowly releases dapivirine into the body to help prevent HIV infection. It works to prevent HIV in people who are HIV negative in…

Vaginal Ring Infographic

Removing human rights-related barriers

“The axes of poverty, gender, sexual orientation, race, age and class intersect. Some are getting the benefit of science, but others are not. Some are getting quality people-centered services, but others are not. We must therefore focus our efforts on addressing inequality in access and inequality in outcome…” – UNAIDS Executive Director, Winnie Byanyima Despite the significant gains that have been made in the AIDS response over the past 40 years, the most marginalised people continue to be disproportionately impacted: young women, sex workers, transgender people, men who have sex with men, people who use drugs and others like migrants…


It has been 40 years since the first cases of what would become known as AIDS were identified in the United States and 30 years since the National AIDS Convention of South Africa, which would evolve into NACOSA. What have we learned about tackling HIV, AIDS and other public health crises? “Our experience of battling a pandemic like HIV set us on a solid footing when it came to dealing with the arrival of Covid-19.” – Dr Saadiq Kariem, Chairperson “NACOSA’s long history within the AIDS response, its resilience and adaptability over this difficult period has meant that the organisation…


Reporting on sex workers: a guide

Sex workers are often stereotyped, exposed, stigmatised and misrepresented in the media. This can have a negative impact, not only on individual sex workers, but on the sex worker rights movement as a whole. Sex workers are ordinary people working to support themselves and their families and, just like any other person, should be treated with fairness and dignity. NACOSA’s key populations team have pulled together some simple pointers to guide journalists and media houses when reporting on sex work and sex workers. Key facts Sex workers are female, male and transgender adults aged over 18 years who sell consensual…

NACOSA News October 2021

Taking vaccines to the people, young women as social media Influencers, practical advice for combatting GBV and more in our October email newsletter. OCTOBER 2021    


Turning the tide on GBV

August, the Minister of Police announced a staggering 74% increase in reported sexual offences in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the previous year. This is on top of already very high levels of violence in the country. NACOSA works closely with donors, government, organisations and communities across South Africa to try to turn the tide on gender based violence (GBV). Our Community Based Violence Prevention and Linkages to Response programme, funded by PEPFAR and USAID, has produced a series of short videos that unpack what GBV is, how to spot it and what to do about it. Our…

Charting the journey

Research in 2019 found that adolescent girls and young women, while being at increased risk of acquiring HIV, are not focused on HIV prevention as a significant issue or meaningful priority. It recommends that building a successful HIV prevention strategy means supporting young women in their journey to navigate healthy sexual behaviours and relationship management overall (Breaking the Cycle of Transmission). Informed by this, the My Journey Adolescent Girls and Young Women Programme, funded by the Global Fund, developed an innovative tool for engaging young women on the programme. The My Journey Journal was designed to be an aspirational tool,…

Impact of COVID on young women

NACOSA’s adolescent girls and young women programme specialist, Colleen Wagner, contributed to this research into the impact of COVID-19 on Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) Programs and Services. “With the layer of COVID it has made it really worse… [16-24 year old girls] has been the group that has been crying out for help more than other groups.” This study was conducted by the Program on Global Health Justice and Governance, Mailman School of Public Health Columbia University and Nicoletta Mabhena, South Africa-based Researcher, with support from the Ford Foundation.