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Coalition to Accelerate & Support Prevention Research (CASPR)

An African-Centered and Led Prevention Research Movement


What is the CASPR Project?

The Coalition to Accelerate & Support Prevention Research (CASPR), designed by AVAC in collaboration with key partners and supported by USAID, is a set of partnerships and activities focused on accelerating biomedical HIV prevention research, toward the goal of HIV epidemic control.

The CASPR project is focused on advocacy for HIV biomedical interventions in the pipeline from research to rollout, and brings together experienced partners committed to a collaborative movement for responsive HIV prevention research. The Coalition leverages its expertise to contribute to a larger vision of integration—across HIV prevention, treatment, tuberculosis (TB), sexual and reproductive health (SRH), and global health R&D. CASPR activities fall into in four major objective areas:

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Advocacy Networks

Strengthen and expand an informed, action-oriented global advocacy network to support the HIV prevention research agenda and active, informed engagement.


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Research Translation

Strengthen sharing & translation of research into policies & practices to ensure support for a research agendas that reflects stakeholder needs & interests.


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Research Preparedness

Ensure that rights & interests of trial participants, eventual users & communities are represented & respected throughout the process of research to rollout.


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Policy Engagement

Develop and advocate for policies that support efficient and ethical development, introduction and use of new HIV prevention options.

Why is CASPR needed?

A core challenge for the HIV prevention field in the coming years is to scale-up available tools while sustaining momentum in research and development (R&D) amidst a shrinking envelope of global resources for the overall HIV response.

CASPR is committed to a robust, end-to-end perspective of product development and delivery, while demonstrating the added value of emerging strategies, and developing long-term solutions. Since CASPR began in 2016, the efficacy pipeline has significantly expanded and the landscape has never been more exciting and complex, and the need for CASPR never more urgent.

Who are the CASPR partners?

CASPR is comprised of experienced, Africa-based partners that leverage local capacity and ensure activities strengthen and utilize local structures, including: Advocacy for Prevention of HIV & AIDS (APHA), the HIV/AIDS Vaccine Ethics Group (HAVEG), the New HIV Vaccine & Microbicide Advocacy Society (NHVMAS), and Wits Reproductive Health & HIV Institute. WACI Health serves as secretariat for Africa Free of New HIV Infections (AfNHi)—a regional, Africa-led advocacy network.

CASPR partners also represent organizations and individuals with longstanding engagement and global leadership in the region, including: AVAC, Avenir Health, FHI 360, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), and Internews. While core members provide the network with strategic direction and execute the bulk of activities, CASPR engages a range of stakeholders in TB, family planning, and more to reflect the evolution of the epidemic and ensure an integrated and comprehensive response.

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What is the focus?

CASPR focuses efforts primarily in key African countries (highlighted in gray on the map) with the highest burden of new HIV infections and where biomedical HIV prevention research is ongoing or planned. CASPR is focused on four cross-cutting initiatives, listed below, for joint strategizing and action.

  • Ensuring that next-generation HIV prevention trials are designed using a process whereby stakeholder perspectives are incorporated into ongoing and planned trials.
  • Influencing the development of policies supportive of domestic financing for HIV prevention R&D.
  • Accelerating progress towards an integrated, women-centered research agenda, that brings a R&D orientation to SRH, and paves the way for HIV product introduction and multi-purpose prevention technologies (MPTs).
  • Building consensus around priorities for the HIV prevention R&D pipeline as a roadmap to influence funders, researchers and other decision makers.
map of planned and ongoing HIV prevention research in Africa

Click to enlarge.

Below are key CASPR activities at the global, national and regional levels:

Global

  • Scale-up use of the Engage! online platform, a collaborative space that responds to the research literacy and advocacy capacity needs of HIV prevention advocates and other stakeholders.
  • Expand resource tracking for R&D financing and prevention programming.
  • Strengthen consensus around GPP as a core component of the research process, including TB and emerging pathogens, through the development of GPP theory of change and adaptation of the GPP online course.
  • Highlight gaps in the research pipeline—such as inclusion of pregnant and breastfeeding women in research.
  • Conduct Trial Design Academy to engage civil society in next-generation trial design issues.

Regional

  • Support networks of HIV advocates as an organizing body for regional advocacy.
  • Support development and review of guidelines on R&D conduct and ARV-based prevention.
  • Support regional bodies to develop harmonized regulatory systems for HIV prevention R&D.

Country

  • Collect data on national prevention planning budgeting & research agendas.
  • Build capacity of partner groups to capture and analyze data on biomedical prevention R&D.
  • Recruit and support a cadre of R&D advocates.
  • Build relationships between advocates, journalists & researchers to promote informed reporting.
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Last updated March 2020.