The trial, known as COVENANT, will seek to improve treatment in six African countries.

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UNC GWH faculty Drs. Carla Chibwesha (South Africa) and Lameck Chinula (Malawi) training a colleague from Tanzania using MobileODT’s smartphone-based mobile colposcope.

Cervical cancer remains a leading cause of cancer death among women in Africa, Latin America and South-East Asia. Women living with HIV have a higher risk of cervical disease and also experience disease recurrence more commonly than women without HIV.

Chaired by UNC Global Women’s Health (GWH) faculty member Dr. Carla Chibwesha, a recently launched trial seeks to improve pre-cancer treatment response in HIV-infected women in six African countries.

The trial, known as COVENANT, is sponsored by the U.S. National Cancer Institute and is being conducted through the AIDS Malignancy Consortium, an international cancer research network.

Dr. Chibwesha’s team has also received funding support and an HPV vaccine donation through the Merck Investigator Studies Program.

UNC-affiliated research sites in both Malawi and South Africa are participating in the trial. The site in Lilongwe, Malawi is led by UNC GWH faculty member Dr. Lameck Chinula. The site in Johannesburg, South Africa is led by Dr. Chibwesha. Research sites in Cape Town, South Africa; Kenya; Tanzania; Uganda; and Zimbabwe will also participate.

COVENANT trial launch meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa attended by research teams from Johannesburg and Cape Town; Eldoret, Kenya; Mwanza, Tanzania; Kampala, Uganda; and Harare, Zimbabwe. The meeting was also attended by collaborators from the Weill Cornell, the University of Colorado, Boston University, and the University of New Mexico.