Global Scientists Gather in Rwanda to boost New Strategy Against HIV

Researchers from 19 African countries including US, France and Switzerland at the two-day conference hosted in Kigali,Rwanda

Rwanda is preventing 17,800 citizens from contracting HIV/AIDS every year as the country adopts a new ‘Treat All’ strategy proposed by scientists.

The 90-90-90 ‘Treat All’ proposes Universal Testing and Treatment to ensure that 90% of all people living with HIV know their HIV status by 2020 and 90% of all people diagnosed with HIV infection receiving antiretroviral therapy and 90% of all on antiretroviral therapy must have viral suppression.

Over 160 researchers from 19 African countries including US, France and Switzerland are attending a two-day conference in Rwanda to strengthen implementation of the new strategy.

Dr. Diane Gashumba, Minister of Health in Rwanda said the new strategy is important in ending the AIDS Epidemic, by reducing transmission and improving the lives of persons living with HIV.

“Rwanda is among the first African countries to implement ‘Treat All’ strategy and are on track. This has helped us to avert around 17,800 new infections up to 2030. Our health personnel is working tirelessly that every Rwandan who becomes infected can expect to have a near-normal lifespan with access to lifelong, uninterrupted HIV treatment.”

Rwanda opted for ‘Treat All’ strategy in June 2016.

Dr. Muhayimpundu Ribakare

Dr. Muhayimpundu Ribakare, director of HIV, AIDS Care and Treatment at Rwanda Biomedical Center revealed that the country has almost achieved the 90-90-90 goals, with 87-94.8-92.6.

The conference aims at bringing together Africa regional researchers (within and across sub-Saharan African regions) to share knowledge and identify new areas of collaboration around ‘Treat All’ implementation.

Denis Nash from City University of New York, US said that by gathering in Kigali, those researchers also are planning to identify knowledge gaps by exploring and exposing researchers to ways that the ‘Treat All’ approach is being rolled out in Rwanda and other settings in sub-Saharan Africa and develop, disseminate a consensus regarding ‘Treat All’ research priorities, metrics, and methodological approaches to guide IeDEA’s research agenda for the next 4 years.

Reports show that in 2016, 70% of people living with HIV knew their HIV status. Of the people who know their status, 77% were accessing treatment, and for people on treatment, 82% were virally suppressed.

This conference is organized by the International Epidemiology Databases to Evaluate AIDS network, known as IeDEA, which is a global research consortium funded by the US National Institute of Health.

Eastern and Southern Africa have made good progress and are on track to reach the 90-90-90 targets.

76% of people living with HIV know their status, 79% of people who know their HIV-positive status have access to antiretroviral therapy, and 83% of people who are on treatment have undetectable levels of HIV — this equates to 50% of all people living with HIV in Eastern and Southern Africa with viral suppression.