EDCTP2 EAPOC-VL Project Successfully Launched
The EAPOC-VL project was sucessfully launched on 13- 14th April 2022 at the Uganda Virus Research Institute. This was a hybrid event with online participation of study site members from countries like Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania.
The purpose of EAPOC-VL project is to examine the feasibility, acceptability and effectiveness of using point of care viral load (PoC VL) monitoring to improve virological suppression among children and adolescents (age 019 years) living with HIV in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. The intervention to be implemented and studied is the use of point of care (PoC VL) at peripheral health centers that will replace the standardized care approach of centralized VL testing done at specialized laboratories. The implementation study will build on a cluster randomized control design in which selected health facilities in the participating countries will be randomized to either use PoC or standard of care to test for HIV viral load.
UNAIDS developed the 90-90-90 strategy to end the HIV/AIDS pandemic by 2020 (1). It aims to have 90 % of all individuals living with HIV know their HIV status, 90% of those with diagnosed HIV infection receive sustained antiretroviral treatment, and 90% of those on treatment having viral suppression. Despite significant success in identifying 90% of people living with HIV (first 90) and initiating 90% of these on antiretroviral treatment (ART) (second 90), challenges still exist in achieving viral load (VL) suppression in 90% of people living with HIV (PLWHIV) on treatment (third 90); especially, among children and adolescents (2–6).
The overall objective for this project is to evaluate feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness of using PoC HIV VL monitoring to improve viral load suppression rates among children and adolescents living with HIV in East Africa. The project will run for four years and is expected to end in February 2025.