Updates from IAS - Press briefing: Pediatric HIV: Many Issues, Many Stakeholders, One Chance

EGPAF Vice President of Research Dr. Laura Guay spoke at an International AIDS Society conference press conference today in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, focusing on pediatric HIV.


Today, EGPAF Vice President of Research Dr. Laura Guay spoke at a press conference titled, “Pediatric HIV: Many Issues, Many Stakeholder, One Chance.” She discussed breakthroughs and challenges in pediatric HIV/AIDS diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. Dr. Guay was joined by Professor Linda Gail-Bekker of the International AIDS Society, Dr Annette Sohn of TREAT Asia/amfAR, and Dr John Pottage, Chief Medical Officer at ViiV Healthcare.

The press conference kicked off with a reflection on the Collaborative Initiative for Pediatric HIV Education and Research (CIPHER), which was launched by the International AIDS Society in 2012. CIPHER is supported by an unrestricted grant from ViiV Healthcare’s Pediatric Innovation Seed Fund, which intends to address outstanding research gaps related to clinical management and delivery of services to infants, children, and adolescents affected by HIV in resource-limited settings.

Dr. Guay discussed how CIPHER and the World Health Organization (WHO)’s recently launched new HIV/AIDS treatment guidelines impact pediatric HIV/AIDS implementation and research efforts, particularly as they relate to early infant detection (EID) programs.

“We certainly laud the progress that has been made over the years in terms of HIV treatment and prevention...but we also have to remember that HIV care and treatment and living with HIV is not simple,” she said. “There are many challenges that must be addressed moving forward and we certainly can’t decrease our efforts in focusing on children affected by this epidemic.”

Dr. Guay also added, “The key to survival for HIV infected infants and children is early diagnosis and initiation of treatment as early as possible…yet worldwide, we know that only 35 percent of HIV-exposed infants were tested for HIV in the first two months of life… Clearly this is an issue that still needs to be addressed in terms of scaling up and identifying means in order to provide access to EID programs for exposed infants.”

The press conference concluded with a call to action to prioritize care for mothers, infants, children and adolescents living with HIV as part of the global effort to achieve an AIDS-free generation.
You can watch the full press conference here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vosZPpeP9gc&list=PLmLNk-fZ5InxQ11YnXYMjg7hVNBTCTnth

Johanna Harvey is Senior Communications Officer for the Foundation, based in Washington, D.C.