IHVN partners to Pilot improved HIV Viral Load Tools
To monitor and improve quality of life for People Living with HIV (PLHIV) in Nigeria, the Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria (IHVN) in collaboration with Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) is piloting improved tools used for HIV Viral Load (HIV VL) activity in the country.
The testing of the tools commenced in Abuja with an orientation and training of 28 health care workers including, doctors, nurses and adherence counselors implementing the HIV program in different organizations.
IHVN Executive Director, International Research Center of Excellence (IRCE) and Principal Investigator of the project, Prof. Alash'le Abimiku said that the new tools being piloted will address challenges in the accurate and timely provision of HIV viral load results and ensure that right clinical decisions are made for the people living with HIV.
Prof. Abimiku said, “This pilot scale up project would impact not only Nigeria but all other US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)-funded countries that are rolling out viral load step up. It covers all areas of HIV care and treatment, starting from the moment a HIV viral load is requested, collected, tested and final results returned and utilized by the clinicians for the best quality health care interventions. Our model in Nigeria, at the end of the day hopes to ensure that every test result is dependable and affects the life of a patient.”
CDC Lab Specialist, Mr. Dickson Adegoke noted that, “The pilot study would be carried out in ten sites selected from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Benue state. The participants are expected to pass down what they have learned when they go back to their organizations for continuity and effectiveness of the project.”
A Clinical Specialist, Dr. Iheaka Ezieme said, “This scale up activity would help close gaps and reduce the burden of repetition by PLHIV across the country because the viral load test is very expensive. Another participant from Benue state, Iorhen Nyam, said “I am really looking forward to using the tools we have been given at this training and cannot wait for the result of this pilot study in my state. The eventual scale up of Viral Load activities in the country would ease work for us health care workers.”
The CDC funded pilot project, through African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM), consists of a team of professionals from IHVN, Center for Integrated Health Programme (CIHP) and Catholic Caritas Foundation of Nigeria (CCFN) among others. The pilot will involve a total of five teams visiting ten sites. Six in Benue State and four in FCT to perform a baseline assessment with an immediate intervention by correcting gaps identified and distributing job aids and guides for HIV VL sample management services.