A Partnership that Pushes the Boundaries of Pediatric HIV Research
A child having a blood sample taken in a pediatric HIV clinic in Malaysia.Children and adolescents living with HIV have unique healthcare needs, and many questions about pediatric HIV care remain unanswered. For example, which antiretroviral regimens—and at what doses—are most appropriate for young people? What are the long-term effects of antiretroviral therapy (ART) on growth and development? How can communication between clinicians and HIV-positive adolescents be improved to produce better health outcomes? TREAT Asia is tackling these issues head on, thanks to its groundbreaking partnership with ViiV Healthcare.
Making the single largest award in the history of the TREAT Asia pediatric program, ViiV Healthcare first teamed up with TREAT Asia in 2010 in an effort to fill critical data gaps and establish an evidence base from which to identify best practices for pediatric HIV management in Asia. With ViiV Healthcare's support, TREAT Asia created the first pediatric HIV drug resistance monitoring program in the region. Currently operating in eight sites in three countries, the program focuses on children already on second-line ART regimens due to initial treatment failure.
In addition to the study of drug resistance, ViiV Healthcare's award has supported pilot studies in Thailand and Malaysia of an audio computer-assisted survey instrument (ACASI) used to interface with adolescents in an effort to obtain honest and accurate information regarding behavioral risk factors. ViiV Healthcare's award is also funding ongoing analyses on the use of viral load testing in assessing treatment failure in children as well as the impact of orphanhood in HIV outcomes.
In December 2011, ViiV Healthcare sought to build on the core capacity developed through its partnership with TREAT Asia by awarding a second grant to address the healthcare challenges HIV-positive children face as they age into adolescence. Research supported by this funding will focus on integrating reproductive healthcare, treatment adherence among teenagers, and studying the risk of bone damage due to lifelong ART.
"Barriers to HIV treatment and services are particularly significant for infants and children living across Asia and require urgent attention," said Dr. Dominique Limet, CEO of ViiV Healthcare. "Our ongoing partnerships with the TREAT Asia program have enabled treatment literacy work and evidence-based research to develop strategies to support lifelong pediatric care and inform optimal pediatric treatment guidelines. ViiV Healthcare is immensely proud to be a part of these efforts, and we thank the amfAR team for their hard work and dedication to adults and children living with HIV in Asia and across the rest of the world."
From its beginnings, TREAT Asia's partnership with ViiV Healthcare has included a provider education component intended to train clinicians at the provincial and referral levels in TREAT Asia network countries on the latest developments in pediatric HIV treatment. To date, TREAT Asia has conducted pediatric treatment failure and lipodystrophy management workshops in Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam. By turning innovative research into best practices, TREAT Asia is shaping pediatric HIV care in the region. Together ViiV Healthcare and TREAT Asia are pushing the boundaries of pediatric HIV research and making a difference in the lives of children living with HIV across Asia.