OHA August 2017 E-Newsletter

Inside OHA - USAID's Office of HIV/AIDS. Working Towards Controlling the HIV/AIDS Epidemic
Two girls carry a sign saying Support Us to Stay Safe. Zero HIV Infections is everyone's responsibility.

Photo credit: USAID/Uganda School Health and Reading Program

August 2017

Message from the Director

Douglas Arbuckle

For quite some time now, we have been undergoing change. Leadership is transitioning, policies are shifting and even the winds of change seem to be bringing us cooler than usual weather in D.C. And, the reality is that we may be in this period of metamorphosis for some time to come. But among the many changing variables, there remains one constant: our commitment.

As a key implementing agency of the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), we remain committed to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic and to keeping those who are most marginalized at the center of our work. And as a development agency, we are also mindful of the critical need to ensure that the advances that come from our commitment are sustainable.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) works with interagency and implementing partners, civil societies, partner governments, patients and global advocates to help maintain the gains made thus far and scale up our successes. We strive for long-term impact over short-term gains. We endeavor to link every person living with HIV to treatment. We aspire to end this epidemic.

Doug Arbuckle
Director, USAID Office of HIV/AIDS

Confirmation of USAID Administrator Mark Andrew Green

On August 3, 2017, the United States Senate confirmed Mark Andrew Green to be the 18th Administrator of USAID. Administrator Green previously served as U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania, a member of the House of Representatives from Wisconsin and a member of the Board of Directors of the Millennium Challenge Corporation. Most recently, he served as President of the International Republican Institute. Under the aegis of Administrator Green, USAID will uphold its commitment of being a responsible steward of tax dollars and will prioritize development assistance, while ensuring greatest impact.

International AIDS Society Conference 2017

USAID Office of HIV/AIDS Senior HIV/AIDS Advisor for Key Populations, Cameron Wolf, leads a satellite session at IAS 2017

USAID Office of HIV/AIDS Senior HIV/AIDS Advisor for Key Populations, Cameron Wolf, leads a satellite session at IAS 2017.
Photo credit: FHI360

The 9th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Science (IAS 2017) was held in Paris, France, July 23–26, 2017. As the premier international HIV/AIDS scientific conference, IAS 2017 brought together HIV and infectious disease scientists from all over the world to map out strategies to achieve HIV/AIDS epidemic control. Below are some highlights and resources from this important conference:

IAS Session Highlights
LINKAGES Satellite Sessions

YouthPower AIDS Youth Supplement Satellite Session

OPTIMIZE Consortium Satellite Session

Other News

Other Resources

  • IAS 2017 Digital Hub
    FHI360 is the official media partner for IAS 2017. Discover articles, live stream links, social media content and more from IAS 2017 on the Crowd360 IAS 2017 Digital Hub.
  • IAS 2017 Oral Abstract Supplement, July 28, 2017
    The Journal of the International AIDS Society recently published a compilation of oral abstracts that were presented at the IAS 2017. View the supplement.
  • Free Access to the Lancet through August 22, 2017
    To mark the 9th IAS Conference on HIV Science, the Lancet journals have made a selection of their content free through August 22, 2017, that reflects some of the breadth and diversity of clinical, epidemiological and operational HIV research produced by the tireless global HIV community. Learn more.

PEPFAR logo with US and Zimbabwe flags. Below two test tubes and the words: Your viral load refers to the amount of HIV in a sample of your blood.

Image credit: EQUIP

Partner Spotlight: Successes in the Field

Zimbabwe: Scaling up Site-level, Viral-load Testing in One District

By EQUIP Communications

Zimbabwe's Ministry of Health is working to accelerate the scale-up of viral-load testing in a partnership project with EQUIP Kheth'Impilo in the Chitungwiza District. By the end of 2017, the partners aim to ensure that at least 80 percent of all patients eligible for routine and targeted viral-load testing will have been offered viral-load tests.

Zimbabwe has adopted an aggressive target for viral-load scale-up. The success of these plans requires additional capacity across the continuum of healthcare as well as support from implementing partners.

The Zimbabwe Ministry of Health opted to implement a project that would demonstrate ways to improve viral-load monitoring after a national population survey in 2016 found that although 60 percent of people on antiretroviral therapy (ART) were virally suppressed, only 3 percent had received a viral-load test result. The demonstration project is an implementation initiative delivered in partnership with the Organisation for Public Health Interventions and Development (OPHID), Population Services International (PSI), EQUIP and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Assessments are being made at facility level of laboratory capacity needed to conduct viral-load testing using a Rapid Laboratory Capacity Assessment tool developed by EQUIP partner, the National Health Laboratory Service, based in South Africa. With these insights, EQUIP is working to improve efficiencies in specimen collection, transport systems and storage.

Interventions such as the purchase of motorbikes and diagnostic equipment is helping to ensure a dedicated transport service to collect specimens from the feeding health facilities and deliver the results of the monitoring tests. The project also includes training of healthcare workers to raise awareness of the importance and availability of routine viral-load monitoring, as well as providing laboratory equipment to help increase capacity for viral-load testing at site level. A case in point is the New Start Centre at Chitungwiza District, where the goal is to ensure samples reach the lab within 6 hours and deliver results within a turn-around time of 7 days.

"EQUIP is excited about the viral-load scale-up demonstration project in Chitungwiza," said Dr. Benson Chirwa, Country Director for EQUIP Kheth'Impilo, Zimbabwe. "Clearly, this is a great opportunity to work with the Ministry of Health and our implementing partners including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as those providing facility support on accelerating viral-load scale-up in line with national policy. The partnership project will also help document viral suppression as we achieve greater testing coverage."

Publications Round-up

OHA staff have a tremendous amount of knowledge and expertise to share on the HIV/AIDS epidemic, which can often be seen in a wide range of journals. Check out the OHA-authored works below, published between January 1 and July 1, 2017.

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USAID is a proud implementer of the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.