“Scaling up HIV Viral Load Testing and uptake of the Results through Improving Efficiencies of Systems”
More than 120 technical experts from 11 different African countries are expected to convene in Windhoek, Namibia on 13 September, for a four-day HIV Viral Load Testing workshop at Safari Court Hotel. Viral load testing is recommended by the World Health Organization for monitoring treatment in patients who are on antiretroviral therapy (ART).
The workshop is the first of its kind to be held in Namibia. Clinical and laboratory experts in the HIV field will discuss and share strategies and country experiences in improving efficiencies for increased HIV Viral load testing and uptake of results for patient management.
Hosting the HIV Viral Load workshop is an important milestone for Namibia worth celebrating and acknowledging. Namibia is one of the top three African countries in provision of viral load testing to people living with HIV who need the test. Monitoring HIV treatment through viral load testing is important to detect treatment failure which can cause HIV patients to get sicker or even die from HIV.
The United States Government, through the President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) supports the Government of Namibia to achieve the UNAIDS 90 90 90 targets. This translates into identifying 90% of all people who are HIV positive, getting 90% of them on lifesaving ART and making sure that the virus in 90% of people on treatment is fully suppressed or under control.
“Viral load testing is a critical element in HIV treatment because it enables early identification and confirmation of HIV treatment success. Without viral load testing, patients may be continued on failing HIV treatment regimens increasing their risk of developing drug resistance”, said the US Ambassador Thomas F.Daughton.
The technical workshop on Scaling up HIV Viral Load Testing and uptake of the Results through Improving Efficiencies of Systems is funded by the US government through the PEPFAR Program and is organized by the African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM) in collaboration with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). PEPFAR continues to support the Namibian Government in expanding viral load services. In 20015, PEPFAR spent US$1,823,521 and will spend an additional US$1,466,688 in 2016 to expand access to viral load testing capacity.
It is estimated that 71% of the patients are able to get this test done on routine bases allowing clinicians to detect treatment failure early before patients get too sick. “In 2015, approximately 71% of patients on antiretroviral therapy had access to viral load testing per Namibian National Guidelines. Our target now is to reach 100% coverage,” said Ambassador Daughton.
Event: Technical HIV Viral Load Testing workshop
Date: Tuesday 13 to Friday 16 September 2016
Time: 8:00 to 17:00
Venue: Safari Court Hotel
Room: Kuiseb 1 & 4