Established in 1996, the Botswana–Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership (BHP) is a collaborative research and training initiative between the Government of the Republic of Botswana and the Harvard AIDS Initiative.

From discussions in 1996 to the official opening of a state-of-the-art laboratory building on the 1 December 2001, the BHP has grown into a fully-outfitted research laboratory and training center. The Botswana-Harvard HIV Reference Laboratory houses epidemiologic and laboratory research for such projects as the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) and the genomic analysis of HIV-1C, the viral sub-type predominant in southern Africa. Research is also conducted on the design and development of an HIV-1C vaccine, and on resistance and adherence to anti-retroviral drugs. In addition, the Reference Laboratory plays a key role as a training facility, building and expanding the professional infrastructure in Botswana through training the nation’s researchers and laboratory technicians.

As well as conducting epidemiologic and laboratory-based research, the BHP is home to the KITSO AIDS Training Program, which provides health care professionals in Botswana the opportunity to enrich their HIV and AIDS clinical knowledge and practice.

The research and training initiatives of the BHP focus on questions of epidemiology, virology, molecular biology, immunology, genetics, clinical treatment, and social and behavioral medicine issues relevant to the AIDS epidemic in Botswana and southern Africa. The culmination of this research and training will be put into practice to develop interventions appropriate to stemming the epidemic and its societal and economic effects.