Study focus area


The Buddy Project


Research on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been concentrated to China, Europe, and the US. In low resource settings across sub-Saharan Africa where the epidemic is newly emerging, the potential impact of SARS-CoV-2 may be far more severe. This project will examine the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of a novel remote service delivery model implemented among young people living with HIV (YPLHIV) who have initiated ART across three clinics in Cape Town, South Africa. The impact of lock-down orders on HIV care and multi-level factors that may affect HIV treatment engagement and foster infection with SARS-CoV-2 will also be assessed. Lastly, COVID-19 incidence among YPLHIV and the impact of COVID-19 and prevention guidelines on access to care, health, and well-being will be documented.

CMI Booklet image two guys hailing cab


A pilot individual randomized control trial will be conducted among 360 YPLHIV across three clinics in Cape Town’s Klipfontein health district. This trial will examine the feasibility, acceptability and preliminary efficacy of a remote service delivery model to facilitate engagement in HIV care during the COVID-19 pandemic. All individuals will have the option to select to receive courier versus facility-based HIV treatment and/or other sexual and reproductive health services at enrolment and during follow-up. At enrolment, participants will be randomized to receive or not receive additional SMS support. The SMS intervention includes SMS check-ins from study staff and access to two-way messaging capabilities to obtain continuous support for adherence to ART and COVID-19 prevention guidelines. Data will be collected via monthly telephone interviews.

Primary Objectives

  • Examine the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of a remote service delivery model for YPLWH that will include a monthly service needs assessment and optional delivery of HIV treatment and sexual and reproductive health services.
  • Determine the impact of lock-down orders on HIV care and identify multi-level factors that affect both engagement in HIV care and compliance with COVID-19 prevention guidelines.


Linda-Gail Bekker Desmond Tutu Health Foundation


Three HIV clinics in Cape Town Location South Africa


Oct 2020 – June 2022


Adherence and Retention in Care

ViiV study lead and contact

Nanlesta Pilgrim

Director of Global Implementation Science




In this study, a retrospective analysis of existing data sources will be completed, allowing for a comprehensive description and evaluation of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on national prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) services and on specialised neonatal care at the local level.


As part of an effort to re-engage patients into care, this study determined the effectiveness of using an outreach nurse as a direct clinical liaison through the State Bridge Counsellor (SBC) Program


As a part of this project, video-consultation through telemedicine (VCT) is utilized to help to buffer the negative impact of COVID-19 on the HIV treatment cascade in Argentina.

Our partnerships

Our partnerships

We are proud to partner with multiple organizations that work to prevent HIV and improve the lives of people who live with HIV.

Find out more

NP-GBL-HVU-WCNT- 210034 | March 2022

Reporting of side effects

If you get any side effects, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse. This includes any possible side effects not listed in the package leaflet. You can also report side effects directly via the Yellow Card Scheme at or search for MHRA Yellowcard in the Google Play or Apple App store. By reporting side effects, you can help provide more information on the safety of this medicine.

If you are from outside the UK, you can report adverse events to GSK/ViiV by selecting your region and market, here.