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Progress with Scale-Up of HIV Viral Load Monitoring - Seven Sub-Saharan African Countries, January 2015-June 2016.
MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2016 Dec 02; 65(47):1332-1335.The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends viral load testing as the preferred method for monitoring the clinical response of patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection to antiretroviral therapy (ART) (1). Viral load monitoring of patients on ART helps ensure early diagnosis and confirmation of ART failure and enables clinicians to take an appropriate course of action for patient management. When viral suppression is achieved and maintained, HIV transmission is substantially decreased, as is HIV-associated morbidity and mortality (2). CDC and other U.S. government agencies and international partners are supporting multiple countries in sub-Saharan Africa to provide viral load testing of persons with HIV who are on ART. This report examines current capacity for viral load testing based on equipment provided by manufacturers and progress with viral load monitoring of patients on ART in seven sub-Saharan countries (Cote d'Ivoire, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda) during January 2015-June 2016. By June 2016, based on the target numbers for viral load testing set by each country, adequate equipment capacity existed in all but one country. During 2015, two countries tested >85% of patients on ART (Namibia [91%] and South Africa [87%]); four countries tested <25% of patients on ART. In 2015, viral suppression was >80% among those patients who received a viral load test in all countries except Cote d'Ivoire. Sustained country commitment and a coordinated global effort is needed to reach the goal for viral load monitoring of all persons with HIV on ART.
Geneva, Switzerland, UNAIDS, 2016.  p.This report highlights best practices and provides examples of countries that are already coming close to achieving the 90–90–90 targets, which are that 90% of people living with HIV know their HIV status, 90% of people who know their HIV-positive status are accessing treatment and 90% of people on treatment have suppressed viral loads. The report outlines steps that are needed to expedite gains towards each of the three 90s. Technological and service delivery innovations rapidly need to be brought to scale, communities must be empowered to lead the push to end the epidemic, new resources must be mobilized to reach the final mile of the response to HIV and steps must urgently be taken to eliminate social and structural barriers to service access.
Targeted Spontaneous Reporting: Assessing Opportunities to Conduct Routine Pharmacovigilance for Antiretroviral Treatment on an International Scale.
Drug Safety. 2016 Jun 9; 1-18.Introduction: Targeted spontaneous reporting (TSR) is a pharmacovigilance method that can enhance reporting of adverse drug reactions related to antiretroviral therapy (ART). Minimal data exist on the needs or capacity of facilities to conduct TSR. Objectives: Using data from the International epidemiologic Databases to Evaluate AIDS (IeDEA) Consortium, the present study had two objectives: (1) to develop a list of facility characteristics that could constitute key assets in the conduct of TSR; (2) to use this list as a starting point to describe the existing capacity of IeDEA-participating facilities to conduct pharmacovigilance through TSR. Methods: We generated our facility characteristics list using an iterative approach, through a review of relevant World Health Organization (WHO) and Uppsala Monitoring Centre documents focused on pharmacovigilance activities related to HIV and ART and consultation with expert stakeholders. IeDEA facility data were drawn from a 2009/2010 IeDEA site assessment that included reported characteristics of adult and pediatric HIV care programs, including outreach, staffing, laboratory capacity, adverse event monitoring, and non-HIV care. Results: A total of 137 facilities were included: East Africa (43); Asia–Pacific (28); West Africa (21); Southern Africa (19); Central Africa (12); Caribbean, Central, and South America (7); and North America (7). Key facility characteristics were grouped as follows: outcome ascertainment and follow-up; laboratory monitoring; documentation—sources and management of data; and human resources. Facility characteristics ranged by facility and region. The majority of facilities reported that patients were assigned a unique identification number (n = 114; 83.2 %) and most sites recorded adverse drug reactions (n = 101; 73.7 %), while 82 facilities (59.9 %) reported having an electronic database on site. Conclusion: We found minimal information is available about facility characteristics that may contribute to pharmacovigilance activities. Our findings, therefore, are a first step that can potentially assist implementers and facility staff to identify opportunities and leverage their existing capacities to incorporate TSR into their routine clinical programs.
Consolidated guidelines on the use of antiretroviral drugs for treating and preventing HIV infection: What’s new. Policy brief.
Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, 2015 Nov.  p. (Policy Brief)The 2015 guidelines includes 10 new recommendations to improve the quality and efficiency of services to people living with HIV. Implementation of the recommendations in these guidelines on universal eligibility for ART will mean that more people will start ART earlier. The updated guidelines present both new recommendations and previous WHO guidance. They include clinical recommendations (“the what” of using ARVs for treatment and prevention) and service delivery recommendations to support implementation (“the how” of providing ARVs), organized according to the continuum of HIV testing, prevention, treatment and care. For the first time the guideline includes “good practice statements” on interventions whose benefits substantially outweigh the potential harms.
Consolidated guidelines on the use of antiretroviral drugs for treating and preventing HIV infection: Recommendations for a public health approach.
Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, 2013.  p.The 2013 Consolidated guidelines on the use of antiretroviral drugs for treating and preventing HIV infection provide new guidance on the diagnosis of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, the care of people living with HIV and the use of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs for treating and preventing HIV infection.
[London, United Kingdom], Partnership for Child Development [PCD], 2009 Sep. 80 p.This document describes a review of HIV and AIDS indicators for the UNAIDS Inter-Agency Task Team on Education. The goal of the review was to help develop user-friendly guidance to measure the coverage, outcomes, and impact of education programs on HIV and AIDS in low-income countries.
Estimating the level of HIV prevention coverage, knowledge and protective behavior among injecting drug users: what does the 2008 UNGASS reporting round tell us?
Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. 2009 Dec; 52 Suppl 2:S132-42.OBJECTIVES: The 2001 Declaration of Commitment from the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS (UNGASS) set the prevention of HIV infection among injecting drug users (IDUs) as an important priority in the global fight against HIV/AIDS. This article examines data gathered to monitor the fulfillment of this commitment in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs) where resources to develop an effective response to HIV are limited and where injecting drug use is reported to occur in 99 (of 147) countries, home to 75% of the estimated 15.9 million global IDU population. METHODS: Data relating to injecting drug use submitted by LMICs to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in the 2008 reporting round for monitoring the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS were reviewed. The quality of the data reported was assessed and country data were aggregated and compared to determine progress in HIV prevention efforts. For each indicator, the mean value weighted for the size of each country's IDU population was determined; regional estimates were also made. RESULTS: Reporting was inconsistent between countries. Forty percent of LMIC (40/99), where injecting occurs, reported data for 1 or more of the 5 indicators pertinent to HIV prevention among IDUs. Many of the data reported were excluded from this analysis because the indicators used by countries were not consistent with those defined by UNAIDS Monitoring and Evaluation Reference Group and could not be compared. Data from 32 of 99 countries met our inclusion criteria. These 32 countries account for approximately two-thirds (68%) of the total estimated IDU population in all LMICs.The IDU population weighted means are as follows: 36% of IDUs tested for HIV in the last year; 26% of IDUs reached with HIV prevention programs in the last year; 45% of IDUs with correct HIV prevention knowledge; 37% of IDUs used a condom at last sexual intercourse; and 63% of IDUs used a clean syringe at last injection. Marked variance was observed in the data reported between different regions. CONCLUSIONS: Data from the 2008 United Nations General Assembly Special Session reporting round provide a baseline against which future progress might be measured. The data indicate a wide variation in HIV service coverage for IDUs and a wide divergence in HIV knowledge and risk behaviors among IDUs in different countries. Countries should be encouraged and assisted in monitoring and reporting on HIV prevention for IDUs.
Lancet. 2007 Jul 21; 370(9583):202-203.After a series of meetings, open internet-based reviews, and consultations over a year, WHO and UNAIDS recently released guidance on HIV testing and counselling initiated by health providers. Those not engaged in this exercise might not fully appreciate the evolution of thinking represented by this final document, nor the role played by active debate between constituencies with diverging views on key issues. Among these issues was whether HIV testing should be included in the panoply of routine tests given in health settings on the initiative of the clinician, unless the patient specifically opted-in by asking to be tested for HIV or opted-out by refusing the test, despite not having been prompted to consent to it. Many found the ideas confusing and questioned the underlying assumption of this approach-ie, that patients who signed off on admission forms when consulting or being admitted to a care facility de-facto agree to any diagnostic test found necessary by the treating doctor. Concerns were raised that, unlike other tests, in view of prevailing stigma, discrimination, and risks of violence attached to an HIV-positive result in many settings, particularly for women, specific individual agreement to the test remained necessary. (excerpt)
Evaluating a model for monitoring the virological efficacy of antiretroviral treatment in resource-limited settings. Authors' reply [letter]
Lancet Infectious Diseases. 2006 Jul; 6(7):387-388.We thank Duncan Smith-Rohrberg and colleagues and Stephen Lawn and co-workers for their comments concerning our algorithm and their pledge for the availability of more viral load testing in resource-limited settings. For the moment, however, we have to confront the reality faced by most countries struggling with antiretroviral treatment scale-up: viral load testing remains expensive, requires a well-equipped laboratory, well-trained personnel, and is not available in most resource-limited settings. For these reasons, WHO is still not recommending viral load tests for regular monitoring of antiretroviral treatment in resource-limited settings. Two randomised trials in Africa--the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study in Tororo, Uganda and the Development of Antiretroviral Therapy in Africa (DART) study in Uganda and Zimbabwe--were initiated in 2004, comparing clinical monitoring only with clinical and routine laboratory monitoring. Both studies are still ongoing, meaning the data safety monitoring boards have not stopped them because patients in the laboratory arm were doing better than patients in the clinical monitoring only arm. However, it is unlikely that these studies will provide a definite answer concerning the value of viral load testing to monitor antiretroviral therapy in resource-limited settings. Indeed, viral load testing is only done in one of the three study arms in the CDC Tororo study. Moreover, the primary outcomes of both studies are the development of an AIDS-defining illness or death and not drug resistance, a marker that may teach us more about the long-term outcome of the antiretroviral therapy. (excerpt)
Impact of the 1994 expanded World Health Organization AIDS case definition on AIDS surveillance in university hospitals and tuberculosis centers in Cote d'Ivoire.
AIDS. 1997 Dec; 11(15):1867-72.To assess the impact of the 1994 expanded World Health Organization (WHO) AIDS case definition upon AIDS surveillance in Cote d'Ivoire, passive AIDS case surveillance was conducted from March 1994 through December 1996 at the 3 university hospitals in Abidjan, while active AIDS case surveillance was conducted at the 8 large tuberculosis (TB) centers throughout Cote d'Ivoire. Standardized questionnaires were administered and blood samples for HIV testing were collected from patients evaluated. 3658 of the 8648 hospital patients met the clinical and/or expanded case definition: 744 HIV-seropositive individuals met only the expanded definition, 44 HIV-seropositive individuals met only the clinical definition, 2334 HIV-seropositive individuals met both definitions, and 536 HIV-seronegative persons met only the clinical definition. Of 18,661 TB center patients, 9664 met the clinical and/or expanded case definition: 5685 HIV-seropositive individuals met only the expanded definition, none of the HIV-seropositive individuals met only the clinical definition, 2625 HIV-seropositive individuals met both definitions, and 1354 HIV-seronegative persons met only the clinical definition. The use of the 1994 expanded definition for surveillance purposes should be encouraged in areas of the developing world where HIV serologic testing is available.