Last week was very enlightening as I saw how research carried out by Africans is improving the ways HIV/AIDS is being treated in Africa. I also loved exploring Gaborone sites such as Kgale Hill and Sanitas (like Veritas) Tea Garden.
Most of this awesome research is being carried out at Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership (BHP). BHP is an organization that was initiated in 2001 by the government of Botswana and Harvard University to help solve the pandemic that was taking away many lives and shuttering young people’s futures in the country. During these 12 years BHP has also had a focus of empowering people in Southern Africa to conduct research ranging from effects of Anti Retro-viral Drugs (ART) in the progression of HIV, effectiveness of ART in preventing mother to child transmission of HIV, studies characterizing the viral envelope (GP120) and use of chemokine receptors (CCR5 and CXCR5) as disease progresses, and many more. I also had the privilege of meeting research fellows from countries such as Zambia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Botswana, and hearing about their awesome projects hoping to improve treatment or increase biological knowledge of HIV virus in their countries. Furthermore, it was great attending the laboratory meeting led by the Zambian and Botswanian site Principle Investigators (PI) who were very knowledgeable about the directions of the projects and future questions the research fellows could explore. The fact that BHP has advanced research equipment similar to those I have seen at Harvard is also really cool.
Hiking Kgale hill was also really cool. Apart from the time I hiked in New Hampshire last summer, the only time I ever went hiking was in Zambia when I hiked the hills in my town as a kid without permission from my Dad. He still wouldn’t approve of it because he is paranoid about snakes and dangerous insects in the hills since he has treated a number of people who have had snakebites; he is a doctor. Anyway he probably knows my older brother and I went on that hike many years ago. Defiant Kids.