July 19, 2018
Written by Dr. Otto Chabikuli, Director of Global Health, Population and Nutrition, FHI 360 and Dr. Timothy Mastro, Chief Science Officer, FHI 360
This article originally appeared on Degrees. Reposted with permission.
The focus of the global effort to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic, now 37 years on, is epidemic control, which the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) defines as limiting the annual number of new HIV infections in a country to less than the number of deaths among people living with HIV.
Sub-Saharan Africa, home to 26 million (70 percent) of the global total of 36.9 million people living with HIV, is where the battle must be won. To succeed and sustain the gains achieved in the past 15 years, countries in Africa will need to assume greater responsibility for managing their epidemics.The tailored application of research-generated evidence to HIV treatment programs has been central to bringing the world closer to epidemic control. Click To Tweet
The reduction of the annual number of new infections is the central challenge in epidemic control. Its scientific basis is treatment as prevention supplemented by other, enhanced, prevention approaches, including voluntary medical male circumcision, prevention of mother-to-child transmission, pre-exposure prophylaxis and targeted behavioral and structural interventions, especially for key populations. Taking this scientific evidence to scale is the next challenge, one that requires reorienting HIV program leadership, augmenting health workforce and embedding a culture of transparency and accountability in public health systems. How can we accelerate progress?
The tailored application of research-generated evidence to HIV treatment programs has been central to bringing the world closer to epidemic control. As countries progress on their journey to self-reliance and take a leading role in managing their HIV epidemics, the long-term sustainability of a program’s success hinges on a given country’s ability to continue adopting new evidence and innovative approaches in programming.