Behind the Scenes of a Complex HIV/AIDS Trial

Spotlight Winter 2016
It’s complicated. It involves over 100,000 men and women in 30 Botswana villages. The goal of the Botswana Combination Prevention Project (BCPP) is to reduce new HIV infections across populations. After a challenging start, the trial is off and running. Results are likely to influence the future of global HIV/AIDS programs. Download PDF.

BCPP field team members and villagers in ShakaweTHE BOTSWANA COMBINATION PREVENTION PROJECT
A Way to End the Epidemic?

The end of AIDS as a public health threat may not come from an effective vaccine, as many had hoped for decades, but from a collaborative effort across nations to prevent new HIV infections.

Dr. Max EssexMax Essex
The Persistent Investigator

It’s unlikely that you’ll ever meet anyone more focused than Max Essex.

Shakawe Households on Google EarthCounting to 73,700
A Guide to Randomization

Randomization is a key element in the best clinical trials. It insures that researchers don’t inadvertently introduce their own preferences or biases into the hard work of trials.

People attending Kgotla, the public village meetingIT TAKES 30 VILLAGES
Building Trust in a Clinical Trial

Because of his own history, Dr. Mompati Mmalane had ideas about how best to introduce a complex clinical trial to communities like Shakawe, a remote village in northwestern Botswana.

Keotshepile Molokwane A Month in Shakawe
The Field Team at Work

Tourists who visit Botswana’s scenic Okavango Delta rarely visit Shakawe, the most remote village participating in the BCPP.

Research Nomads

Each of the two field teams for the BCPP consists of 16 research assistants, seven drivers, two supervisors, two lab assistants, and two IT assistants.

A Research Assistant locating households.The Trouble of Finding People at Home
Adapting to a Mobile Society

The Botswana equivalent of knock knock is ko ko. For the BCPP field team, trying to contact family members of the 20% of randomly selected households in each village is their biggest challenge.

BCPP meetingThe Inner Life of a Complex Clinical Trial

It was the first week of June in 2015. The BCPP leadership team was stressed. There were even more conference calls than usual. Two upcoming events could change the course of the trial.

Ya Tsie logoThe Meaning of Ya Tsie

In the Setswana language, the name of the BCPP is Ya Tsie. The name comes from a proverb that roughly translates as “Teamwork bears more fruit than individual effort.”

BCPP-greetingsGreetings to You All

When the field team for the BCPP arrives in a village, loudspeakers announce the start of the study.

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