Presenting at the recent Southern African Communications for Change conference, the Wits RHI Key Populations project revealed some interesting findings from its study to assess whether sustained use of mobile communication can influence behaviour change in the sex worker population in Hillbrow and Tshwane in Gauteng province.
Known as the “African CROI” the INTEREST Conference brings together scientists involved in HIV treatment, pathogenesis, and prevention research in Africa to share pivotal findings, promote collaboration, and transfer experiences across several fields and many continents.
Of no surprise to those in the HIV field, the epidemic continues to be fueled by stigma, none more evident than among key and mobile populations, such as people who inject drugs and sex workers. Speakers at the Southern African HIV Clinicians Society conference shared their experiences in working with these groups and challenged participants to view them as people – and not merely a public health problem.
Prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) programs have been incredibly successful across southern Africa. However, presentations at the second day of the Southern African HIV Clinicians Society Conference highlighted important gaps in pediatric testing and treatment.
PrEP could complement established HIV prevention strategies for pregnant and breastfeeding women as part of a comprehensive package to reduce HIV infections among women and transmission from mothers to infants in settings with high HIV incidence.
Since 2016, WHO has recommended tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) + lamivudine (3TC) (or emtricitabine, FTC) + efavirenz (EFV) 600 mg as the preferred first- line antiretroviral therapy (ART) regimen for adults and adolescents. WHO recommended dolutegravir (DTG) as an alternative option to EFV for first-line ART because of the uncertainty regarding the safety and efficacy of DTG during pregnancy and among people living with HIV receiving rifampicin-based tuberculosis (TB) treatment. New WHO interim guidelines contain recommendations regarding preferred first-line regimens for adults, adolescents and children initiating ART, which now include DTG and RAL.