6th National Laos workshop: viral load monitoring in children and adults infected with HIV

October 1, 2013

The workshop, ‘Viral load monitoring in children and adults infected with HIV’, organized by the Christophe Mérieux Infectiology Center of Laos (CICML), the National AIDS Program in Laos (CHAS), and ESTHER, was held from 11-13 June, 2013, in Vientiane with support from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS and the Mérieux Foundation.

This professional training session was led by experts from the National AIDS Program and several regional organizations: CICML, IRD UMI 174- PHPT (Chiang Mai, Thailand), and Doctors without Borders of Cambodia. Over 50 experienced practitioners from all locations where antiretroviral therapy is administered in Laos, convened to exchange information and review actual clinical cases.

The workshop began with an update by health specialists on the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Laos, and was followed by an overview of the funding provided by the Global Fund in 2013 for viral tests. Several sessions were held on the themes: prevention of HIV transmission from mother to child, early diagnosis in infants born to infected mothers, and resistance to first- second- and third- line antiretroviral (ARV) drugs (integrase inhibitors). The meeting ended with a sharing of pratical experience through a review of actual clinical cases.

Since June 2009, the CICML has run 5,984 viral tests for the monitoring of 2,567 patients, who represents 91% of those being treated with ARV drugs in the country. Drug resistance testing was performed on 112 patients, of which 100 were found to be resistant to ARV drugs.

Among the 137 children under 18 months of age who were given an early-detection test, 22 were found to be infected with HIV. Thanks to funding granted by the Global Fund and the Mérieux Foundation, the National Program and the CICML will be able to hold these workshops every year. The 7th annual workshop is planned for April 2014.