About Prof Frank Tanser



Professor Frank Tanser is a South African scientist whose research aims to evaluate and design intervention strategies to drive back the HIV epidemic and its negative consequences in communities hardest hit by the epidemic. His pivotal work over the past 25 years has provided substantial insights into the evolving and dynamic nature of the HIV epidemic and its key drivers, informing HIV prevention and treatment efforts in sub-Saharan Africa.

His research into the population-level impacts of the antiretroviral therapy (ART) roll-out has led to wide-reaching and rapid changes to government policy on how ART programmes in South Africa are designed and implemented. In particular, a seminal study he published in one of the world’s leading scientific journals – Science – was the first to show that nurse-led and decentralised HIV programmes in rural areas could be successful in reducing HIV transmission at the population-level.

Frank holds masters degrees from Imperial College London and Rhodes University and a doctorate from UKZN. He is a faculty member at AHRI and professor of global health at Stellenbosch University. He has served as a consultant and advisor to several high-profile organisations including the Mailman School of Public Health, USAID, the Futures Group International and UNAIDS. He currently serves on the board of The Lancet HIV and was member of the international scientific and technical advisory committee to the executive director of UNAIDS.

Frank has published over 250 papers in high-ranking international journals and his research has been cited over 33 000 times. He has been the recipient of numerous scientific grants and has raised over $85-million in external research funding to date. He is the founding director of the Lincoln International Institute for Rural Health – an international institute set up to study the health of rural populations across the globe. He was also a founder member of the Africa Centre for Population Health in 1998, and was responsible for building Africa’s first comprehensive population-based GIS system at the centre. In 2017 Frank was honoured by the South African Medical Research Council with the gold medal scientific achievement award in recognition of the excellence of his research. The award recognises outstanding scientists who have undertaken seminal research that has impacted directly on the health of populations in developing countries. In 2019, The Royal Geographical Society awarded him the Back Award for “conducting applied research that has made an outstanding contribution to the development of national or international public policy”.



High prevalence of self-reported sexually transmitted diseases among older adults in Tanzania: results from the list experiment.
Kim HY, Rohr J, Leyna GH, Killewo J, Tomita A, Tanser F, Bärnighausen T, Ann Epidemiol. (2023), S1047-2797(23)00086-8. doi: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2023.05.001:.

International epidemiology Databases to Evaluate AIDS (IeDEA) Southern Africa. Abacavir safety and effectiveness in young infants with HIV in South African observational cohorts.
de Waal R, Rabie H, Technau KG, Eley B, Sipambo N, Cotton M, Boulle A, Wood R, Tanser F, Fatti G, Egger M, Davies MA, Antivir Ther. (2023), 28(2):13596535231168480. doi: 10.1177/13596535231168480:.

Convergence of HIV and non-communicable disease epidemics: Geospatial mapping of the unmet health needs in a HIV Hyperendemic South African community..
Cuadros DF, Devi C, Singh U, Olivier S, Castle A, Moosa Y, Edwards JA, Kim HY, Siedner MJ, Wong EB, Tanser F, medRxiv (2023), 2023.03.27.23287807. doi: 10.1101/2023.03.27.23287807:.

Spatial variations in STIs among women enrolled in HIV prevention clinical trials in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.
Dassaye R, Wand H, Reddy T, Tanser F, Sartorius B, Morris N, Ramjee G, SAHARA J. (2023), (1):2193238. doi: 10.1080/17290376.2023.2193238:.

The geography and inter-community configuration of new sexual partnership formation in a rural South African population over fourteen years (2003–2016).
Kim H-Y, Cuadros D, Wilkinson E, Junqueira DM, de Oliveira T, Tanser F, PLoS Global Public Health (2022), https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgph.0000055:.

The role of high-risk geographies in the perpetuation of the HIV epidemic in rural South Africa: A spatial molecular epidemiology study.
Cuadros DF, de Oliveira T, Graf T, Junqueira DM, Wilkinson E, Lemey P, Barnighausen T, Kim H-Y, Tanser F, PLoS Global Public Health (2022), https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgph.0000105:.

A year of genomic surveillance reveals how the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic unfolded in Africa .
Wilkinson E, Giovanetti M, Tegally H, San JE, Lessells R, Cuadros D, Martin DP, Rasmussen DA, Zekri AN, Sangare AK, Ouedraogo AS, Sesay AK, Priscilla A, Kemi AS, Olubusuyi AM, Oluwapelumi AOO, Hammami A, Amuri AA, Sayed A, Ouma AEO, Elargoubi A, Ajayi NA, Victoria AF, Kazeem A, George A, Trotter AJ, Yahaya AA, Keita AK, Diallo A, Kone A, Souissi A, Chtourou A, Gutierrez AV, Page AJ, Vinze A, Iranzadeh A, Lambisia A, Ismail A, Rosemary A, Sylverken A, Femi A, Ibrahimi A, Marycelin B, Oderinde BS, Bolajoko B, Dhaala B, Herring BL, Njanpop-Lafourcade BM, Kleinhans B, McInnis B, Tegomoh B, Brook C, Pratt CB, Scheepers C, Akoua-Koffi CG, Agoti CN, Peyrefitte C, Daubenberger C, Morang'a CM, Nokes DJ, Amoako DG, Bugembe DL, Park D, Baker D, Doolabh D, Ssemwanga D, Tshiabuila D, Bassirou D, Amuzu DSY, Goedhals D, Omuoyo DO, Maruapula D, Foster-Nyarko E, Lusamaki EK, Simulundu E, Ong'era EM, Ngabana EN, Shumba E, El Fahime E, Lokilo E, Mukantwari E, Philomena E, Belarbi E, Simon-Loriere E, Anoh EA, Leendertz F, Ajili F, Enoch FO, Wasfi F, Abdelmoula F, Mosha FS, Takawira FT, Derrar F, Bouzid F, Onikepe F, Adeola F, Muyembe FM, Tanser F, Dratibi FA, Mbunsu GK, Thilliez G, Kay GL, Githinji G, van Zyl G, Awandare GA, Schubert G, Maphalala GP, Ranaivoson HC, Lemriss H, Anise H, Abe H, Karray HH, Nansumba H, Elgahzaly HA, Gumbo H, Smeti I, Ayed IB, Odia I, Ben Boubaker IB, Gaaloul I, Gazy I, Mudau I, Ssewanyana I, Konstantinus I, Lekana-Douk JB, Makangara JC, Tamfum JM, Heraud JM, Shaffer JG, Giandhari J, Li J, Yasuda J, Mends JQ, Kiconco J, Morobe JM, Gyapong JO, Okolie JC, Kayiwa JT, Edwards JA, Gyamfi J, Farah J, Nakaseegu J, Ngoi JM, Namulondo J, Andeko JC, Lutwama JJ, O'Grady J, Siddle K, Adeyemi KT, Tumedi KA, Said KM, Hae-Young K, Duedu KO, Belyamani L, Fki-Berrajah L, Singh L, Martins LO, Tyers L, Ramuth M, Mastouri M, Aouni M, El Hefnawi M, Matsheka MI, Kebabonye M, Diop M, Turki M, Paye M, Nyaga MM, Mareka M, Damaris MM, Mburu MW, Mpina M, Nwando M, Owusu M, Wiley MR, Youtchou MT, Ayekaba MO, Abouelhoda M, Seadawy MG, Khalifa MK, Sekhele M, Ouadghiri M, Diagne MM, Mwenda M, Allam M, Phan MVT, Abid N, Touil N, Rujeni N, Kharrat N, Ismael N, Dia N, Mabunda N, Hsiao NY, Silochi NB, Nsenga N, Gumede N, Mulder N, Ndodo N, Razanajatovo NH, Iguosadolo N, Judith O, Kingsley OC, Sylvanus O, Peter O, Femi O, Idowu O, Testimony O, Chukwuma OE, Ogah OE, Onwuamah CK, Cyril O, Faye O, Tomori O, Ondoa P, Combe P, Semanda P, Oluniyi PE, Arnaldo P, Quashie PK, Dussart P, Bester PA, Mbala PK, Ayivor-Djanie R, Njouom R, Phillips RO, Gorman R, Kingsley RA, Carr RAA, El Kabbaj S, Gargouri S, Masmoudi S, Sankhe S, Lawal SB, Kassim S, Trabelsi S, Metha S, Kammoun S, Lemriss S, Agwa SHA, Calvignac-Spencer S, Schaffner SF, Doumbia S, Mandanda SM, Aryeetey S, Ahmed SS, Elhamoumi S, Andriamandimby S, Tope S, Lekana-Douki S, Prosolek S, Ouangraoua S, Mundeke SA, Rudder S, Panji S, Pillay S, Engelbrecht S, Nabadda S, Behillil S, Budiaki SL, van der Werf S, Mashe T, Aanniz T, Mohale T, Le-Viet T, Schindler T, Anyaneji UJ, Chinedu U, Ramphal U, Jessica U, George U, Fonseca V, Enouf V, Gorova V, Roshdy WH, Ampofo WK, Preiser W, Choga WT, Bediako Y, Naidoo Y, Butera Y, de Laurent ZR, Sall AA, Rebai A, von Gottberg A, Kouriba B, Williamson C, Bridges DJ, Chikwe I, Bhiman JN, Mine M, Cotten M, Moyo S, Gaseitsiwe S, Saasa N, Sabeti PC, Kaleebu P, Tebeje YK, Tessema SK, Happi C, Nkengasong J, de Oliveira T, Science (2021), DOI: 10.1126/science.abj4336:.

Exposure to waste sites and their impact on health: a panel and geospatial analysis of nationally representative data from South Africa, 2008–2015.
Tomita A, Cuadros DF, Burns JK, Tanser F, Slotow R, Lancet Planetary Health (2020), 4: e223–34:.

Opportunities and Challenges in HIV Treatment as Prevention Research: Results from the ANRS 12249 Cluster-Randomized Trial and Associated Population Cohort.
Tanser F, Kim H-Y, Vandormael A, Iwuji C, Barnighausen T, Current HIV/AIDS Reports (2020), 17:97–108 https://doi.org/10.1007/s11904-020-00487-1:.

Spatial clustering of food insecurity and its association with depression: a geospatial analysis of nationally representative South African data, 2008–2015.
Tomita A, Cuadros DF, Mabhaudhi T, Sartorius B, Ncama BP, Dangour AD, Tanser F, Modi AT, Slotow R, Burns JK , Scientific Reports (2020), (2020) 10:13771. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-70647-1:.

HIV incidence declines in a rural South African population: a G-imputation approach for inference.
Vandormael A, Cuadros D, Dobra A, Barnighausen T, Tanser F, BMC Public Health (2020), 20:1205 https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-020-09193-4:.

Impact of community piped water coverage on re-infection with urogenital schistosomiasis in rural South Africa.
Mogeni P, Vandormael A, Cuadros D, Appleton C, Tanser F, Elife (2020), 9. pii: e54012. doi: 10.7554/eLife.54012:.

Migration and first-year maternal mortality among HIV-positive postpartum women: A population-based longitudinal study in rural South Africa.
Kim HY, Dobra A, Tanser F, PLoS Med (2020), https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003085:.

The state of the HIV epidemic in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: a novel application of disease metrics to assess trajectories and highlight areas for intervention.
Vandormael A, Cuadros D, Kim HY, Bärnighausen T, Tanser F, Int J Epidemiol. (2020), pii: dyz269. doi: 10.1093/ije/dyz269:.

HIV seroconcordance among heterosexual couples in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: a population-based analysis.
Kim HY, Harling G, Vandormael A, Tomita A, Cuadros DF, Bärnighausen T, Tanser F, J Int AIDS Soc. (2020), 23(1):e25432. doi: 10.1002/jia2.25432:.

Declines in HIV incidence among men and women in a South African population-based cohort.
Vandormael A, Akullian A, Siedner M, de Oliveira T, Bärnighausen T, Tanser F, Nature Communications (2019), 10(1):5482. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-13473-y:.

Recent levels and trends in HIV incidence rates among adolescent girls and young women in ten high-prevalence African countries: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Birdthistle I, Tanton C, Tomita A, de Graaf K, Schaffnit SB, Tanser F, Slaymaker E, Lancet Global Health (2019), 7: e1521–40:.

Space-time clustering of recently diagnosed tuberculosis and impact of ART scale-up: Evidence from an HIV hyper-endemic rural South African population.
Tomita A, Smith CM, Lessells RJ, Pym A, Grant AD, de Oliveira T, Tanser F , Scientific Reports (2019), https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-46455-7:.

Effects of Migration on Risky Sexual Behavior and HIV Acquisition in South Africa: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis, 2000-2017..
Dzomba A, Tomita A, Govender K, Tanser F, AIDS Behav. (2019), doi: 10.1007/s10461-018-2367-z:.

Effect of ART scale-up and female migration intensity on risk of HIV acquisition: results from a population-based cohort in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
Dzomba A, Tomita A, Vandormael A, Govender K, Tanser F, BMC Public Health (2019), 19(1):196:doi: 10.1186/s12889-019-6494-x.

Estimating trends in the incidence rate with interval censored data and time-dependent covariates.
Vandormael A, Tanser F, Cuadros D, Dobra A, Stat Methods Med Res (2019), 962280219829892. doi: 10.1177/0962280219829892:.

Sociobehavioral and community predictors of unsuppressed HIV viral load: multilevel results from a hyperendemic rural South African population.
Tomita A, Vandormael A, Bärnighausen T, Phillips A, Pillay D, De Oliveira T, Tanser F, AIDS (2019), 33(3):559–569.

Spatial structure of depression in South Africa: A longitudinal panel survey of a nationally representative sample of households.
Cuadros DF, Tomita A, Vandormael A, Slotow R, Burns JK, Tanser F, Scientific Reports (2019), 9(1):979:doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-37791-1.

Tracking external introductions of HIV using phylodynamics reveals a major source of infections in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
Rasmussen DA, Wilkinson E, Vandormael A, Tanser F, Pillay D, Stadler T, de Oliveira T, Virus Evolution (2018), 4(2): vey037:.

Spatial clustering of drug-resistant tuberculosis in Hlabisa subdistrict, KwaZulu-Natal, 2011-2015.
Smith CM, Lessells R, Grant AD, Herbst K, Tanser F, Int J Tuberc Lung Dis. (2018), 1;22(3):287-293. doi: 10.5588/ijtld.17.0457:.

Impact of the scale-up of piped water on urogenital schistosomiasis infection in rural South Africa.
Tanser F, Azongo DK, Vandormael A, Barnighausen T, Appleton C, eLIFE (2018), 7:e33065:.

Universal test and treat and the HIV epidemic in rural South Africa: a phase 4, open-label, community cluster randomised trial.
Iwuji CC, Orne-Gliemann J, Larmarange J, Balestre E, Thiebaut R, Tanser F, Okesola N, Makowa T, Dreyer J, Herbst K, McGrath N, Barnighausen T, Boyer S, de Oliveira T, Rekacewicz C, Bazin B, Newell ML, Pillay D, Dabis F, for the ANRS 12249 TasP Study Group, Lancet HIV (2018), :http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2352-3018(17)30205-9.

High percentage of undiagnosed HIV cases within a hyperendemic South African community: a population-based study.
Vandormael A, de Oliveira T, Tanser F, Barnighausen T, Herbeck JT, J Epidemiol Community Health (2018), :doi: 10.1136/jech-2017-209713.

Green environment and incident depression in South Africa: a geospatial analysis and mental health implications in a resource-limited setting.
Tomita A, Vandormael AM, Cuadros D, Di Minin E, Heikinheimo V, Tanser F, Slotow R, Burns JK, Lancet Planetary Health (2017), 1:152?62.

Effect of population viral load on prospective HIV incidence in a hyperendemic rural African community.
Tanser F, Vandormael A, Cuadros D, Phillips AN, de Oliveira T, Tomita A, Barnighausen T, Pillay D, Science Translational Medicine (2017), 9:eaam8012.

Longitudinal trends in the prevalence of detectable HIV viremia: Population-based evidence from rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
Vandormael A, Barnighausen T, Herbeck J, Tomita A, Phillips A, Pillay D, de Oliveira T, Tanser F, Clin Infect Dis. (2017), :doi: 10.1093/cid/cix976.

Sexual partnership age pairings and risk of HIV acquisition in rural South Africa.
Akulliana A, Bershteyna A, Kleina D, Vandormael A, Barnighausen T, Tanser F, AIDS (2017), :DOI:10.1097/QAD.0000000000001553.

Incidence rate estimation, periodic testing and the limitations of the mid-point imputation approach.
Vandormael A, Dobra A, Barnighausen T, de Oliveira T, Tanser F, International Journal of Epidemiology (2017), :doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyx134.

Social disequilibrium and the risk of HIV acquisition: A multilevel study in rural KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa.
Tomita A, Vandormael AM, Barnighausen T, de Oliveira T, Tanser F, J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. (2017), :10.1097/QAI.0000000000001349.

Genome-Wide Association Study of HIV Whole Genome Sequences Validated using Drug Resistance.
Power RA, Davaniah S, Derache A, Wilkinson E, Tanser F, Gupta RK, Pillay D, de Oliveira T, PLoS One (2016), 11(9):e0163746.

Analysis of Viral Diversity in Relation to the Recency of HIV-1C Infection in Botswana.
Moyo S, Vandormael A, Wilkinson E, Engelbrecht S, Gaseitsiwe S, Kotokwe, KP, Musonda R, Tanser F, Essex M, Novitsky V, de Oliveira T, PLoS One (2016), 11(8):DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0160649.

Increasing HIV-1 drug resistance between 2010 and 2012 in adults participating in population-based HIV surveillance in rural KwaZulu-Natal South Africa.
Manasa J, Danaviah S, Lessells RJ, Elshareef M, Tanser F, Wilkinson E, Pillay S, Mthiyane H, Mwambi H, Pillay D, de Oliveira T, AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses (2016), 32(8):763-769.

Brief Report: Virologic Monitoring Can Be a Cost-Effective Strategy to Diagnose Treatment Failure on First-Line ART.
Vandormael AM, Boulware DR, Tanser FC, Barnighuasen TW, Stott KE, de Oliveira T, J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. (2016), 71(4):462?466.

Use of antiretroviral therapy in households and risk of HIV acquisition in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, 2004-12: a prospective cohort study.
Vandormael A, Newell ML, Barnighausen T, Tanser F, Lancet Global Health (2014), 2:e209-215.

Concentrated HIV subepidemics in generalized epidemic settings.
Tanser F, de Oliveira T, Maheu-Giroux M, Barnighausen T, Curr Opin HIV AIDS (2014), 9(2):115-125.

Dramatic increases in HIV prevalence after scale-up of antiretroviral treatment: a longitudinal population-based HIV surveillance study in rural Kwazulu-Natal.
Zaidi J, Grapsa E, Tanser F, Newell M-L, Barnighausen T, AIDS (2013), 27(14):2301-2305.

High coverage of ART associated with decline in risk of HIV acquisition in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
Tanser F, Barnighausen T, Grapsa E, Zaidi J, Newell M-L., Science (2013), 339(6122):966-971.

The TB challenge in a rural South African HIV programme.
Houlihan C, Mutevedzi P, Lessells R, Cooke G, Tanser F, Newell ML, BMC Infect Dis (2010), 10:23.