Current Opinion in HIV and AIDS was launched in 2006. It is one of a successful series of review journals whose unique format is designed to provide a systematic and critical assessment of the literature as presented in the many primary journals. The fields of HIV and AIDS are divided into nine sections that are reviewed once a year. Each section is assigned a Section Editor, a leading authority in the area, who identifies the most important topics at that time. Here we are pleased to introduce the Section Editor for this issue.
Wendy Stevens is a Specialist Haematologist and currently Professor and Head of the Department of Molecular Medicine and Haematology at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, a post she has held since 2003.
Her research career has been focused largely in the HIV arena for over 15 years, as shown by over 220 peer-reviewed publications and as many conference presentations. Her career moved from the basic sciences to research and development of new technologies, with the most notable contribution being the final translation into practice in large-scale national programs. She has contributed significantly to the development of capacity for affordable, accessible HIV diagnostics in South Africa and in over 60 centers in sub-Saharan Africa. Her earlier work revolved around the establishment of the first molecular diagnostics program at Wits University as well as the development and expansion of appropriate HIV diagnostic assays and algorithms. She now holds the position of Director of the National Priority Programs of the National Health Laboratory Service in South Africa servicing over 80% of the population and thus co-ordinates the largest global HIV and TB diagnostics program. This is the culmination of many years of work to develop and expand programs such as HIV early infant diagnosis, HIV viral load testing, CD4 assays and HIV drug resistance testing, amongst others.
More recently her work has focused on the opportunistic infections associated with HIV such as tuberculosis, crptococcal infection and hepatitis B. The last 5 years have been spent expanding the national molecular GeneXpert TB testing program in South Africa servicing over 210 centres. More recently this access has been expanded by her team to vulnerable populations such as those within the correctional services and peri-mining communities. She is also integrally involved in ensuring appropriate diagnostics are incorporated into the National Strategic Plans for HIV and TB in South Africa, at both a laboratory and clinical level. New research and development activities include the development of appropriate point-of care technologies for incorporation into the tiered laboratory infrastructure in South Africa. She has served on national and international working groups advancing diagnostics, which has included consultations for the WHO, UNITAID, CDC, USAID, Gates foundation, Clinton foundation and the African Society of Laboratory Medicine. Her work has largely been grant funded by various donors such as the NIH ACTG, the Global fund, the CDC, Gates Foundation, amongst others. Her team is well known for their expertise in Implementation Science working on the systems to support effective diagnostics including geographical service mapping, costing and modeling, development of sophisticated quality assurance systems and establishment of clinically relevant laboratory databases and data distribution.