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Stop HIV Transmission with Decentralized Viral Load Testing

As a contribution towards this year’s World AIDS Day, HUMAN highlights viral load testing, the WHO Gold standard for HIV monitoring and treatment as well as for patient’s response to antiretroviral therapy (ART).

Viral load testing and CD4 counting are the most relevant diagnostic methods to achieve a successful long term treatment of HIV positive patients. Both monitoring tools are globally well established in HIV therapy management.

The recently updated WHO guideline on when to start ART now recommends the beginning of ART in everyone living with HIV at any CD4 count because of the positive outcomes of reduced mortality, morbidity and HIV transmission. Viral load testing thus becomes the method of choice as initial monitoring tool while CD4 counting remains still the favourite method in assessing the baseline risk of the disease’s progression of patient’s immune system reaction to infections.

One year ago the UNAIDS launched its 90-90-90 treatment targets based on the fact that at the end of 2013, in low- and middle-income countries just 11.7 million people living with HIV/AIDS had access to ART means around 1/3 of the infected people had obtained antiretroviral therapy.

The 90-90-90 treatment targets claim to bring HIV treatment to all who need it. It says:

  • By 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status.

  • By 2020, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy.

  • By 2020, 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.

These goals lead to an increasing need of viral load based ART monitoring even in low and middle income countries, especially in rural regions and smaller hospitals.

Seeing the new WHO recommendations in the context of the UNAIDS 90-90-90 treatment targets ART application and monitoring becomes the most important tool in stopping HIV transmission and thus ending the epidemic.

What is needed now to enable local health points to support these goals is a cost efficient, easy to handle viral load testing. Viral load monitoring on open platforms especially in a decentralized environment offers distinct advantages that include amongst others:

  • Local highly sensitive and specific quantification of viral load

  • Adaptable to individual lab parameter menu

  • Adaptable to small and medium sample throughput

  • Cost-efficient, flexible monitoring

  • Faster turnaround times (results within a day)

  • Early detection of treatment failures

People with a known HIV status are getting thus access to a sustained and effective ART, the most important step towards stopping transmission.

As an IVD company with more than 40 years worldwide experience HUMAN knows about the needs and conditions of health care facilities even in remote areas. This knowledge has been incorporated in our new quantitative real-time PCR system. The open platform solution provides the entire workflow for viral load testing from sample preparation to analysis. With a maximum of flexibility and cost efficiency it is designed for laboratories with low up to medium sample load.

Please refer for detailed information on the WHO Guidelines and the UNAIDS 90-90-90 treatment targets to the following links:

  • WHO Guidelines:

  • UNAIDS 90-90-90 treatment targets:

More information on HUMAN’s PCR Line is available on this website

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