The Department of Radiation Oncology at the previously named Pretoria Academic Hospital (now the Steve Biko Hospital) undertook a pilot study between 2000 and 2001 of 20 patients who were human immunodeficiency virus-positive with locally advanced cancer of the cervix. At the time of the study, these patients were not on
antiretroviral therapy, as per government policy. The patients were randomised into two arms. Six patients underwent a short palliative course of radiotherapy and 13 received a protracted and radical course of
radiotherapy. One patient was lost to follow-up. Although the results were not statistically significant, the short course of palliative radiotherapy was adequate in terms of toxicity. As expected, the radical course was associated with a greater and more significant toxicity, because of the suppressed immune status of the participants.