Important research agendas required to improve testing and treatment of children and youngsters with HIV were presented at the 9th International Aids Society (IAS) Conference on HIV Science in Paris. At present HIV testing and treatment rates are lesser for children than adults. Less than 50% of children who had been exposed to HIV were tested by the suggested age of two months and less than 50% had admitted to antiretroviral therapy.
Director of the HIV Department at the World Health Organization (WHO), Gottfried Hirnschall, said: “We must take action now to close the gaps in the HIV response for children and adolescents, to deliver better HIV prevention, treatment and testing to those in greatest need.”
The new plans were developed by IAS in association with WHO and were entitled “Research for an AIDS-Free Generation: A Global Research Agenda for Paediatric HIV” and “Research for an AIDS-Free Generation: A Global Research Agenda for Adolescents Living with HIV.”
The international procedure headed by experts involved conferences with researchers, donors, healthcare workers, policymakers, global organizations and civil society representatives and was expected to provide guidance for those who involved in the funding, support or research of children and youngsters HIV globally.
Certain important studies for babies and children affected by HIV are, proper placement and timing of new diagnostic tools for point-of-care use; approaches to confirm the relationship between HIV diagnosis, treatment, care and time; Interventions/strategies to develop access to and uptake of HIV testing services for babies and children, chiefly community-based approaches.
Safety, efficacy, acceptability, pharmacokinetics and optimum dose of present and novel antiretroviral drugs and formulations, chiefly with novel drug delivery systems; Strategies/interventions to increase adherence, and factors that influence their success were also studied for babies and children affected by HIV.
Some of the important studies for youngsters are, Interventions/strategies to develop access to and uptake of HIV testing services, and factors that influence their success; Strategies and interventions to increase the relationship between newly diagnosed youngsters to HIV treatment and factors that influence their success.
Safe and acceptable strategies/interventions to develop access to and uptake of HIV testing services for youngsters from key populations; Effective observing approaches and strategies to increase adherence among youngsters and factors that influence their success; Safety, efficacy and acceptability of novel drug delivery systems were also studied for youngsters.
IAS president Linda-Gail Bekker says, “What is known so far about pediatric and HIV epidemics is that more and improved targeted research is needed to tackle the unanswered questions that remain in the global response”.
“The important study plans could support to reply the most pressing questions in the field, streamline research, maximize investments, inform important policy changes and to improve the survival of babies, children and youngsters affected HIV.”