MSF Calls for Scale-Up of “Viral Load” Monitoring to Improve HIV Treatment in Developing Countries
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
CAPE TOWN/NEW YORK, DECEMBER 10, 2013—The international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is calling for increased scale-up of “viral load” HIV treatment monitoring in order to help improve people’s HIV treatment outcomes. At the ICASA HIV/AIDS conference in Cape Town, South Africa, MSF reported on new findings on the benefits of viral load monitoring for people on antiretroviral therapy and strategies to reduce the costs. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria and the United States’ PEPFAR program—the two main funders of global HIV treatment—need to act now and use their large purchasing power to negotiate drastically lower prices for viral load tests.
“The benefits of implementing viral load testing are really obvious—it’s the gold standard for treatment monitoring, but it’s largely unavailable in developing countries because cost is a major factor,” said Dr. Gilles van Cutsem, MSF medical coordinator in South Africa. “Prices need to come down so that countries can scale up, and new research shows this is possible.”
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