Social Aspects of Public Health

Embracing Positive Living For Our People


HAST is a large multi-disciplinary team with over 50 full-time researchers trained in various social sciences disciplines and public health, many of whom hold doctorate degrees.  We collaborate with other research organisations and universities in South Africa, throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, and globally who are engaged in similar work.  HAST also provides some technical assistance and advice to the government, South African National AIDS Council (SANAC), civil society and donors/research grant makers within South Africa, throughout Sub-Saharan Africa through the Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS Research Alliance (SAHARA), and also globally through its collaborating status with the Global HIV Prevention Working Group and other international organisations. HAST also provides excellent experiential training opportunities for young or novice researchers.


HAST has conducted many groundbreaking studies on, among others, the following topics:

  • National HIV surveillance including HIV incidence both in the general population as well as in different sectors of the economy such as among educators and health workers in the public sector 
  • Social and behavioural prevention intervention research on HIV, STIs and TB including reducing the impact of alcohol abuse, HIVAIDS-related stigma, and gender-based violence and using different models of HIV counselling and testing (HCT)
  • Various interventions to mitigate the impact of HIV on orphans and vulnerable children 
  • Monitoring and impact evaluations of national HIV/AIDS, STIs and TB programmes including aspects of the National Strategic Plan (NSP) on HIV/AIDS and STIs in South Africa. We have also played a major role in undertaking the first Know-Your-Epidemic and Know-Your-Response (KYR) analysis on HIV/AIDS in South Africa on behalf of SANAC
  • Operational and implementation research on evidence-based interventions such as Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT), medical male circumcision, home-and clinic based HCT including couples testing, HIV and STIs prevention among people who are HIVpositive including both men who have sex with men (MSM) and sex workers, and prevention of medical transmission of TB.

A UNAIDS Collaborating Centre on HIV Prevention Research and Policy