Point-of-care human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) viral load testing combined with task shifting can improve viral suppression and retention in care by up to 14 percent and enable rapid care decisions, suggest results of a clinical trial led by the University of Washington and the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA).
The trial took place at a large public clinic in Durban, South Africa, and involved 390 HIV-positive adults who were receiving their first routine viral load test after beginning antiretroviral therapy (ART) six months prior. Results were published Feb. 10 in The Lancet HIV.
“This is the first randomized trial to demonstrate an impact for improving viral suppression of HIV,” said lead author Dr. Paul Drain, an assistant professor in the Department of Global Health at the UW, which bridges the University of Washington Schools of Public Health and Medicine. “These results will help guide the response to ending the HIV epidemic.”
Dr. Drain is also an assistant professor of medicine and an adjunct assistant professor of epidemiology. Dr. Nigel Garrett, CAPRISA’s head of pathogenesis and vaccine research, is senior author of the study.Friday Letter Submission, Publish on March 13