CIPRA - The Comprehensive International Program of Research on AIDS is a programme sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Division of AIDS (DAIDS). It is the first programme sponsored by the NIH that funds foreign institutions directly. The CIPRA-SA group which includes seven organisations from both Johannesburg and Cape Town received the largest award to date, $36.8 million (± R250 Million). The programme started in September 2002 with the first participants enrolling in these projects by the first quarter of 2005.
The organisations include the Perinatal HIV Research Unit (PHRU), the Clinical HIV Research Unit (CHRU), the Respiratory and Meningeal Pathogens Research Unit (RMPRU), and the Reproductive Health Research Unit (RHRU). These are divisions of Wits Health Consortium (WHC), the primary grant holder, an affiliate of the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits).
Secondary grant holders include: the University of Cape Town (UCT), the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation (DTHF) and the Children’s Infectious Diseases Clinical Research Unit (KID-CRU) of the University of Stellenbosch (US).
CIPRA-SA includes five projects ranging from family treatment through either a doctor format or a primary health care nurse format, a novel approach to paediatric treatment, bacterial conjugate vaccines, TB studies and laboratory studies to identify inexpensive monitoring tests for HIV infected people. In addition, there are two cores: an administrative core and a central laboratory core. The PHRU oversees the administrative core which covers all administrative needs, project management needs, statistics and data management needs, financial oversight, regulatory requirements and safety reporting requirements in the form of the CIPRA-SA Safety Desk. The National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS) of South Africa in the form of a private affiliate, Contract Laboratory Services (CLS), act as the central laboratory core for all projects in the programme.