IAS 2019: A SystemOne Perspective
By Patricia Moscibrodzki
SystemOne attended the 10th IAS Conference on HIV Science in Mexico City alongside more than 5,900 other professionals from nearly 130 countries. IAS 2019 marked several key milestones in the global response to HIV and was more diverse than ever, with half of all abstract presenters being women and one-third under 35 years old. SystemOne staff noticed a few key themes while in attendance:
- Dozens of sessions and presentations focused on new approaches to making HIV prevention more effective and more responsive to people’s lives.
- The WHO launched the HIV Molecular Diagnostic Toolkit to Improve Access to Viral Load Testing and Infant Diagnosis, increasing scale-up of treatment monitoring approaches to ensure high-quality care and treatment as well as programmatic success. More specifically, monitoring tools were recommended as critical to ensure data-driven site- and program-level improvements towards the achievement of goals.
- WHO issued new recommendations on first- and second-line antiretroviral regimens for HIV with reassuring guidance that Dolutegravir is recommended across all populations based on new data from Botswana and Brazil.
- In Central America and Venezuela, political instability has driven mass migration and strained local health systems. Of the 120,000 people living with HIV in Venezuela, only half were accessing antiretroviral treatment and less than 7% had achieved viral suppression in 2017.
- Globally, women and girls face structural and societal barriers to accessing healthcare, including stigma and discrimination and health providers’ lack of specific knowledge around women’s healthcare.
- As the 90-90-90 treatment and prevention targets edge closer, HIV resources from donor governments are stalled at roughly the same level as a decade ago. To address this challenge, some sessions focused on engaging indigenous communities and parliamentarians in the global HIV response, strengthening political will to reach key targets, promoting better use of resources, financing expanded global responses and setting the next generation of global treatment and prevention goals.
The Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and Regional Director for the Americas of the World Health Organization (WHO), Carissa F. Etienne, provided the opening speech and recognized that the development and implementation of solid approaches based on public health, human rights and evidence, have enabled the course of the epidemic to reverse in many countries. However, she highlighted that “science evidence and innovation must continue to guide HIV policies, programs and investments,” calling for partners to intensify and accelerate action to end AIDS by 2030.
SystemOne’s booth saw significant activity, with visitors from MOHs, NGOs, donor organizations and medical device manufacturers. Ministries understand how connectivity can dramatically reduce turnaround time for HIV VL results, and are interested in SystemOne’s perspective on confirming treatment or treatment type in order to address the “last 90.” Funders and NGOs see data as a critical component of addressing the HIV epidemic, seeing how rapid movement of diagnostic data will not only help with clinical outcomes but also help optimize investments on the ground. And manufacturers understand that moving data rapidly from devices can help them report on performance while enabling them to more effectively supply and provision their devices.
At SystemOne, we like to say, “when information moves faster than disease, humanity wins.” We look forward to continuing to make that possible in HIV, TB and other major disease areas.