The ALPHA Network was established in 2005. It aims to: broaden the evidence base on HIV epidemiology for informing policy; strengthen the analytical capacity for HIV research, and foster collaboration between network members.
All study partners, some starting in the late 1980s and early 1990s, conduct demographic surveillance in populations that range from approximately 20 to 220 thousand individuals. In addition, they conduct population-based surveys with HIV testing, and verbal autopsy interviews with relatives of deceased residents.
The Network helps research institutes with analyses of demographic and epidemiological aspects of their longitudinal data. Workshops are organised and hosted by member studies to prepare data in a common format and to teach local scientist the appropriate analytical techniques. Where possible, data is pooled to enable inter‐site comparisons and to strengthen analytical conclusions. Results are published in special themed journal issues, which combine site-specific papers and meta‐analyses.
The topics covered include HIV incidence, impact of HIV on family demography, survival post infection, trends in sexual debut and first marriage, and uptake of VCT and ART; future planned analyses include HIV and fertility, impact of HIV on child mobility, paediatric HIV, impact of ART on HIV incidence, and sexual partnership dynamics. Analytical results obtained in ALPHA network studies have been used by UNAIDS in building epidemiological models used to predict epidemic trends.
The ALPHA Network is part of the Department of Population Health (DPH) under the Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health. DPH aims to increase global access to effective treatments and public health interventions, and is a centre of excellence in the determinants and consequences of population change.
DPH is also home to the Nutrition Group, Global Mental Health, Maternal & Child Health Intervention Research, Clinical Trials Unit and the Population Studies Group. The Department has strong links with many overseas research groups and provides world-class opportunities for postgraduate training; offering four masters courses: MSc Nutrition for Global Health, MSc Demography & Health, MSc Reproductive & Sexual Health Research, and the new MSc Global Mental Health.