Increasing access to VL testing to better monitor those on ART
HIV viral load (VL) testing has been the gold standard for monitoring the response to antiretroviral therapy (ART) in high-income settings for many years and is increasingly recognized as an important tool for the management of ART in resource-limited settings. Benefits of VL monitoring include the ability to diagnose poor adherence and treatment failure early, prevent unnecessary switches to second-line ART and to allow optimization of treatment response in order to avoid development of resistance and prevent transmission.
Guidelines for ART management issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) have recognized the importance of VL monitoring since 2003 and routine VL monitoring is now strongly recommended as the monitoring strategy of choice.
This dossier consists of 2 parts:
- A presentation and several publications explaining the need to introduce VL monitoring in settings currently without access, plus the challenges
- A description of point-of-care (POC) viral load testing options and their cost-effectiveness, plus an update by UNITAID on the Diagnostics Technology Landscape