The International AIDS Society (IAS) virtually hosted the 11th Conference on HIV Science on 18-21 July 2021. The conference also included a “local partner hub” in Berlin, the original host city, for local experts to gather in person. This biennial conference brings together top HIV researchers, experts, and scientists for presentations and discussions on the latest advances in HIV research and practice.
Representatives from the International Training and Education Center for Health (I-TECH) virtually presented the following posters:
Representatives from I-TECH’s partner network organizations and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also presented data from I-TECH-supported programs in Malawi, India, and Zimbabwe.
- Carson Telford, MPH, CDC, presented an ePoster on the I-TECH HIV-1 surveillance program implemented in 103 facilities in Malawi titled, “Geospatial clusters of recent HIV-1 infection, Malawi, October 2019 – March 2020.”
- Anwar Parvez Sayed, MBBS, TDD, MPH, I-TECH India PLC Executive Director, presented an ePoster on HIV treatment interruption prevention during COVID-19 in India titled, “Interactive voice response system (ARTmitra) – a lifeline to prevent treatment interruption during COVID-19 in Mumbai, India.”
- Blessing Mushangwe, MBChB, MPH, Zimbabwe Technical Assistance, Training & Education Center for Health Senior Program Manager, was the presenting author for an ePoster describing the results of a community outreach program to provide HIV services and reduce COVID-19 exposure titled, “Outreach points fill HIV service gaps while health facilities were closed in Harare, Zimbabwe, August-December 2020.”
The International Training and Education Center for Health (I-TECH), in collaboration with the Malawian Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, began implementing recent HIV infection surveillance in April 2019. The project aims to establish a surveillance system among persons newly diagnosed with HIV infection by integrating point-of-care testing for recent infection into routine HIV testing services (HTS). A rapid test for recent infection is given to consenting clients 13-years-and-older who screen HIV positive within routine HTS across participating health facilities. Between April 2019-2020, I-TECH and MOH activated 485 testing points at 155 facilities in Malawi. All 155 facilities implemented recent HIV infection surveillance and reported data. The project has reached 11 of 28 districts to date.
These data allow the detection and characterization of recent HIV infection among newly diagnosed individuals and identify geographic areas associated with recent HIV-1 infection to inform geographic prioritization of HIV prevention and treatment strategies. The project has demonstrated high uptake and allowed characterization of recent infections according to socio-demographic and geographic factors. PEPFAR implementers in Malawi will collaborate with MOH to further investigate the reasons for high recent infection prevalence in identified clusters. Based on the findings of these responses, Malawi may focus on interventions such as youth-focused programs that aim to limit HIV acquisition and transmission among young people.
I-TECH India PL has provided national, state, and facility level technical assistance for improving quality, analysis and presentation of ART program data; developed innovative tools for tracking program progress based on data analysis of selected indicators over a period of time and submitted for national scale-up; and provided technical mentoring to improve quality of data collection and reporting by the ART Centers at 48 sites of India in the last three years.
The International AIDS Society (IAS) held their 22nd international AIDS conference (AIDS 2018) in Amsterdam 23-27 July 2018. This year, the conference objectives focused on advancing knowledge of HIV through research findings, promoting evidence-based HIV responses tailored to key populations, activating and galvanizing political commitment and accountability, addressing gaps in and highlighting the critical role of HIV prevention, as well as spotlighting the epidemic and HIV response in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
Representatives from I-TECH were at the conference to present and discuss their posters:
Ann Downer presents her abstract, “Lessons Learned from Sustained Global Health Investments” at AIDS 2018.
- Ann Downer, EdD, I-TECH Executive Director, was a presenter during the session, “Keeping it Up: National Ownership and Financial Sustainability,” on 25 July 2018. Dr. Downer presented lessons learned from sustained global health investments using six past case studies of I-TECH programs successfully transitioned to local ownership.
- Phiona Marongwe, diploma in nursing, BSc, Program Officer for the Zimbabwe voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) program, presented her poster, “Trust But Verify: Is There a Role for Active Surveillance in Monitoring Adverse Events (AEs) in Large-Scale VMMC Programs?” The poster looks at passive versus active surveillance of monitoring AEs following VMMC.
In addition to the two presentations above, I-TECH staff and faculty had a number of other abstracts accepted to the conference:
Phiona Marangwe discusses her poster, “Trust but Verify: Is There a Role for Active Surveillance in Monitoring AEs in Large-Scale VMMC programs?” at AIDS 2018.
- “Successful Strategies to Increase HIV Case Identification at Public Health Facilities Among Males in Botswana.” (Botswana, Jenny Ledikwe)
This abstract highlights two strategies that were employed to increase HIV case identification among men at 26 public health facilities in Botswana: extended-hours testing and use of a warm-line for scheduling testing appointments.
- “Aligning Botswana’s National HIV Testing Services Guidelines to the Era of Treat All.” (Botswana, Jenny Ledikwe)
This abstract explores Botswana’s experience of adapting the WHO HIV Testing Services (HTS) Guidelines, a significant step in reaching epidemic control of HIV, demonstrating the nation’s commitment to rigorous strategies that ensure all Batswana know their status and have timely access to prevention and treatment services.
- “Adaptation, Implementation, and Evaluation of a Tele-Mentoring Program for the Namibia HIV Health Workforce.” (Namibia; Gabrielle O’Malley, Norbert Forster, Laura Brandt, and Gillian O’Bryan) Describing the adaptation, implementation, and expansion of the first ECHO program in Africa, this abstract presents results of the mixed-methods evaluation of the Namibia pilot period.
I-TECH has worked with the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other implementing partners to develop and implement robust national health information systems (HIS) that enable greater efficiency and accountability and strategic use of information. These HIS include: Continue reading
I-TECH works with the Mozambique Ministry of Health (MISAU) to expand a pilot project to provide an assisted partner services intervention. The project is aimed at encouraging patients newly diagnosed with HIV infection to disclose their status to their partners, and bring them to the clinic for testing. Continue reading
I-TECH provides assistance to MISAU in implementation of the national Quality Improvement for HIV Services (QIHS) Strategy, with the goal of improving HIV clinical care through the training of clinicians in QI cycles (Plan-Do-Study-Act) and mentoring to improve weak performance indicators. To expand the impact of its programming, ART Committees and distance learning have been used to reach health workers in more rural settings.