A Rhodes University Professor has been awarded a R2 million grant to continue researching cancer in HIV/AIDS patients. The UK government funding is part of an international initiative.

Africa remains the epicentre of the HIV pandemic. Over 7 million people in South Africa are HIV positive.

Professor Adrienne Edkins says many people are dying as result of HIV-related cancer.

“Some of the patients experience some negative side effects when they go on ARVs. So ARVs are not the solution to treating or treating cases and we still need a greater understanding of biology and then we need to use that information to try and find new therapy that specifically are targeting cases rather than treating cases through HIV targeted ARVs.”

Duncan Rack, Elisa Kiringin and Portia Makhubu are researchers working with Professor Edkins. Rack says HIV does not make living easy.

“HIV is a huge health risk for people; it doesn’t make living your life easy and if more people can be aware of it and work towards not spreading it and contracting it in the first, maybe we can come towards a resolution.”

Kiringin says that this an exciting project.

“This is a novel exciting project for us and also heightening awareness.”

Makhubu says that is all based on molecular levels.

“It’s all based on molecular levels. We are trying to build drugs based on molecular levels.”