Dr. Nomhle Ndimande-Khoza is a social and behavioral scientist at Wits RHI in Johannesburg, South Africa, and a past HPTN International Scholar. She has more than 15 years of dedicated experience in HIV prevention among adolescent girls and young women. Dr. Ndimande-Khoza has contributed to various HPTN protocols, including HPTN 068, HPTN 082, HPTN 084, and HPTN 084-1. Her primary research interests include economic interventions, exploring the acceptability of health interventions, understanding individual preferences and values, and assessing the psychosocial and gendered consequences of HIV prevention interventions.
What attracted you to a career in HIV prevention research?
Witnessing many people in my community, including family members, succumbing to AIDS in the late '90s and early 2000s is what drew my attention. I was curious about the rising number of HIV-related deaths, even though there were extensive campaigns aimed at educating and creating HIV awareness. That's when I became interested in exploring the social, behavioral, and structural aspects of HIV infections and related prevention interventions. I wanted to understand the problem and contribute to finding a solution.
What would you say most motivates you to do what you do?
I am motivated by the significant progress in HIV prevention over the past two decades- HIV prevention biomedical technologies to prevent mother-to-child transmission, use of treatment as prevention, oral PrEP pills, injectables, vaginal rings, etc. I am also motivated by the fact that despite these advancements, persistent social and structural challenges hinder individuals from effectively protecting themselves against HIV using these brilliant technologies. There is more to be done by behavioral and social scientists in biomedical research. There is also a need for ongoing efforts to address the deeply rooted barriers, ensuring that everyone can benefit from these remarkable advancements.
What has been one of your proudest moments as a member of the HPTN?
Becoming an HPTN International Scholar and Consortium for Advanced Research and Training in Africa (CARTA) Fellow opened the door to a world of opportunities for me. These scholarships supported my Ph.D. studies and provided me with valuable skills and mentorship. They offered opportunities to network and learn from accomplished African and international scholars. I take great pride in being an HPTN International Scholar and CARTA Fellow, which continues to inspire my research journey.
Who has been the biggest influence in your career? Why?
It isn't easy to pinpoint just one person who influenced my career because several individuals have played significant roles. To name a few, Drs. Cheryl Potgieter, Sharlene Swartz, Saadhna Panday-Soobrayan, Malose Langa, and my Ph.D. supervisor, Dr. Catherine MacPhail, have contributed significantly to my journey. Additionally, under the mentorship of Dr. Sinead Delany-Moretlwe, I've had the privilege of being exposed to numerous opportunities that have contributed significantly to my career growth, including my involvement in HPTN projects after my HPTN scholarship. I will always be grateful that our paths crossed.
What inspires you?
I draw inspiration from women in leadership who skillfully integrate determination with humility. I am also inspired by leaders who openly share their journeys to inspire others and extend mentorship to support emerging leaders.
What passion projects do you do outside of work?
My passion project involves providing financial support for university registration fees for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.