Experts discuss universal coverage of HIV/AIDS treatment in Africa

Experts discuss universal coverage of HIV/AIDS treatment in Africa. (Photo New Times)

African and global researchers are meeting in Rwanda to look for ways to achieve universal HIV/AIDS treatment on the African continent through effective implementation of the World Health Organization’s 2016 “treat all” recommendation.

The two- day- all Africa regional meeting on HIV universal testing and treatment has attracted at least 150 investigators from sub-Saharan Africa, the U.S., France and Switzerland, local online website, the New Times reports.

The researchers hope to share knowledge and experience, and strengthen collaborations to develop research approaches to optimise the implementation of universal testing and treatment for HIV in the region.

The “treat all” programme was published in June 2016 by WHO recommending that anyone infected with HIV should begin antiretroviral treatment as soon as possible.

According to experts, African countries need to do more research to identify and address major challenges holding back effective implementation of the “treat all.”

“Universal test-and-treat is critically important in ending the disease by reducing transmission and improving the lives of people living with HIV,”  Rwanda’s minister for health, Dr Diane Gashumba said.

Gashumba further noted that there is a “critical need” for research as well as close collaboration between policy-makers, programme implementers, and affected communities to optimise its implementation.

Rwanda started the programme in June 2016 countrywide and now almost 83 per cent of the infected persons are on the antiretroviral treatment. HIV prevalence in the country stands at around 3 per cent, the report said.