The community in which we work is our foundation, and we remain rooted in the township of Soweto. From innovative research into the prevention, treatment and care of HIV and TB, to advocacy for access to improved drug regimens and proven health interventions, to free, high-quality medical services, PHRU strives each day to improve the lives of the people of Soweto and reduce the impact of the HIV epidemic across South Africa. We strive to do so in partnership with our community.

PHRU has three community advisory boards (CABs) that help to guide our research and serve as bridges between PHRU and the wider community. The prevention, treatment and adolescent CAB members represent a diverse cross-section of the community, including youth organisations, church groups, health workers, teachers, women’s groups and traditional healers.

PHRU’s first CAB election took place in November 2001. Since then our CABs have helped us to foster a culture of trust and mutual understanding with the community and to ensure that the research we conduct respects the values and cultural differences among those who participate.

What do CABs do?

Our community advisory boards (CABs) ensure a continuous and active partnership between PHRU and the community. Each CAB aims to:

  • Advise the research staff about community norms, expectations and concerns regarding research;
  • Inform the community about HIV and HIV research activities;
  • Create a supportive environment for participants enrolled in HIV research studies, and their families;
  • Assist researchers in the design of clinical trials, participant information leaflets and informed consent documents; and
  • Advice potential and current trial participants of their rights during participation in research.

They do this by engaging in community education and results dissemination activities, reviewing study protocols, and assessing studies’ ongoing progress. CAB members also participate in trainings and international meetings and conferences.

CAB members are not PHRU employees or members of the research staff. Instead, CAB members serve in an autonomous voluntary capacity to advise the research staff and to act as a resource for study participants and the wider community.

How were PHRU's CABs established?

The first CAB PHRU established was the Vaccine Community Advisory Board, now named the Prevention CAB. In 2001, PHRU invited non-governmental and community based organizations from throughout Soweto to send two to three representatives to a series of informational workshops. At the end of the process, an election was held and twenty-one of those representatives were elected to serve on the PHRU CAB. The CAB has since expanded to oversee the full range of HIV prevention research that PHRU conducts. Two additional CABs - the Treatment CAB and the Adolescent CAB - were established to oversee PHRU’s treatment and adolescent research. Each of PHRU’s CABs have established their own constitutions to guide their governance and decision making processes.


For more information on our community advisory boards and how you can get involved, please contact:

Ms. Nomampondo Barnabas
CAB Coordinator
Perinatal Hiv Research Unit
12th Floor New Nurses Home
Baragwanath Hospital
Tel: 011 9899737
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.