• Implementing antiretroviral therapy in rural communities: the Lusikisiki model of decentralized HIV/AIDS care.

      Bedelu, M; Ford, N; Hilderbrand, K; Reuter, H; Médecins Sans Frontières, Lusikisiki, South Africa. (Infectious Diseases Society of America, 2007-12-01)
      Health worker shortages are a major bottleneck to scaling up antiretroviral therapy (ART), particularly in rural areas. In Lusikisiki, a rural area of South Africa with a population of 150,000 serviced by 1 hospital and 12 clinics, Médecins Sans Frontières has been supporting a program to deliver human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) services through decentralization to primary health care clinics, task shifting (including nurse-initiated as opposed to physician-initiated treatment), and community support. This approach has allowed for a rapid scale-up of treatment with satisfactory outcomes. Although the general approach in South Africa is to provide ART through hospitals-which seriously limits access for many people, if not the majority of people-1-year outcomes in Lusikisiki are comparable in the clinics and hospital. The greater proximity and acceptability of services at the clinic level has led to a faster enrollment of people into treatment and better retention of patients in treatment (2% vs. 19% lost to follow-up). In all, 2200 people were receiving ART in Lusikisiki in 2006, which represents 95% coverage. Maintaining quality and coverage will require increased resource input from the public sector and full acceptance of creative approaches to implementation, including task shifting and community involvement.
    • Scale-up of Routine Viral Load Testing in Resource-Poor Settings: Current and Future Implementation Challenges

      Roberts, T; Cohn, J; Bonner, K; Hargreaves, S (Oxford University Press, 2016-04-15)
      Despite immense progress in antiretroviral therapy (ART) scale-up, many people still lack access to basic standards of care, with our ability to meet the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS 90-90-90 treatment targets for HIV/AIDS dependent on dramatic improvements in diagnostics. The World Health Organization recommends routine monitoring of ART effectiveness using viral load (VL) testing at 6 months and every 12 months, to monitor treatment adherence and minimize failure, and will publish its VL toolkit later this year. However, the cost and complexity of VL is preventing scale-up beyond developed countries and there is a lack of awareness among clinicians as to the long-term patient benefits and its role in prolonging the longevity of treatment programs. With developments in this diagnostic field rapidly evolving-including the recent improvements for accurately using dried blood spots and the imminent appearance to the market of point-of-care technologies offering decentralized diagnosis-we describe current barriers to VL testing in resource-limited settings. Effective scale-up can be achieved through health system and laboratory system strengthening and test price reductions, as well as tackling multiple programmatic and funding challenges.