Organizations join forces to improve HIV management in resource-limited countries

Jan. 9, 2014

The Response Database Initiative (RDI) and the Load Zero Foundation are partnering to bring HIV viral load testing and treatment response prediction to poorer countries. Viral load testing will enable physicians to detect HIV treatment failure early, avoiding drug resistance or disease progression. It will also enable physicians to use the RDI’s free online HIV Treatment Response Prediction System (HIV-TRePS) to select the optimal next combination of drugs.

In developed countries the standard of care is the amount of HIV in the bloodstream. The viral load is tested every few months, enabling drugs to be switched as soon as they stop suppressing the virus. In resource-limited nations, viral load tests have been unaffordable, so doctors have had to wait until the patient showed clinical or immunological signs of disease progression before switching. The Load Zero Foundation is funding the provision of tests for such settings to support the shift to viral load monitoring.

Following treatment failure, physicians in developed countries use a genotypic resistance test to help select the best drugs to use next. This identifies where the genetic code of HIV has mutated and to which drugs it may be resistant and sensitive. Genotyping is also unaffordable in most resource-limited countries. HIV-TRePS uses computer models that have been trained with treatment outcome data from tens of thousands of patients treated in hospitals worldwide. Learn more about Response Database Initiative and the Load Zero Foundation.