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Cent Afr J Med. 1993 Feb;39(2):37-9.

Directory of socio-behavioural research on HIV infection and AIDS in Zimbabwe.


In July-August 1992, a directory was made of research projects on socio-behavioural aspects of HIV infection and AIDS in Zimbabwe. A total of 92 research projects were identified, most of which were already completed. Whilst there was a wide variety of topics, populations and geographical areas covered, there was a strong bias towards AIDS awareness and knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) studies. Many of these were not linked with any specific AIDS prevention programme or with policy making. Suggestions are given to make better use of existing scientific information. A call is made upon researchers to conduct action-oriented studies and to consult HIV/AIDS programme implementers when specifying 'researchable' problems, so as to increase the likelihood that the study results will indeed have an impact on policy making and programme implementation.


During July-August 1992, a public health consultant compiled a directory of research on sociobehavioral aspects of HIV infection and AIDS in Zimbabwe. The consultant reviewed journals and the Health and Disease Research Databank of the Medical Research Council of Zimbabwe to identify completed, ongoing, or planned research. The consultant also spoke to people at the University of Zimbabwe, training and research institutes, the Ministry of Health, and other institutions. Field names for each record were author(s), institution(s), documentation/publication, key words, funding agency, status/time, population, objective, methodology, major findings, recommendations, and (expected) utilization of results. 65 (71%) of the 92 research projects were completed research. 17 (18%) and 10 (11%) were ongoing and planned research, respectively. The University of Zimbabwe was linked to 45 (49%) research projects. Nongovernmental organizations were involved in 19 (21%) projects. The most frequent study site was Harare (26), followed by the entire nation (14). Populations studies included adults, women, pupils, factory/farm workers, patients, students, traditional healers, people with HIV/AIDS, men, adolescents, health workers, teachers, prostitutes and clients, pregnant women, and blood donors. The leading research topics were knowledge, attitudes, and practices (23%); education/educational needs (22%); AIDS awareness (20%); sexual behavior (14%); and condom use and acceptance (11%). 71% of the studies were not linked to specific interventions or decision making. 15 of the 27 studies that did make such a linkage were baseline surveys, i.e., done before implementing any interventions. 28 articles were published in scientific journals. 3 research projects were presented at the 8th International Conference on AIDS in Amsterdam. Researchers should do more action research and consult with HIV/AIDS prevention program managers to identify and define problem statements.

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