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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

BU Helps Develop Data System to Accelerate South Africa’s Progress to HIV/AIDS Elimination

A groundbreaking web-based system developed by a team that includes a Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researcher will make pertinent data accessible to healthcare practitioners involved in managing South Africa’s HIV epidemic in near-real time.

The first National CD4 /Viral Load Monitoring Dashboard, an online tool that monitors CD4 count and viral load in South Africa’s HIV-positive patients, will hasten the country’s response to meeting one of UNAIDS HIV elimination targets: for 90 percent of people on treatment to have a viral load fully suppressed by 2020.

Viral load is the best predictor of an HIV-positive patient’s response to treatment. The dashboard displays and analyzes data in a way that healthcare professionals involved in managing the epidemic can easily use. It provides information at a national, provincial, district, sub-district, and single facility level, as well as among adults and children.

Dr. William MacLeod, assistant professor of global health at BUSPH, was a key participant in the project. He said the NHLS laboratory data is “a gold mine of epidemiological data that we can use to improve patient outcomes and our understanding of the HIV epidemic in South Africa.

“The online dashboards provide facility managers with a snapshot of treatment outcomes at their facility,” he explained. “In addition, we have created weekly facility-level reports of viral load test results highlighting patients with unsuppressed viral load, so they don’t slip through the cracks and can get the follow-up attention they need.”

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