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PopART trial shows feasibility of reaching 90-90-90 targets for testing and treatment coverage in Zambia and South Africa
Keith Alcorn, 2016-02-25 03:00:00

Early findings from the PopART study of the impact of a test-and-treat strategy on antiretroviral treatment coverage and HIV incidence show that after one round of household-based testing, linkage to care and offer of immediate antiretroviral treatment, 90% of adults knew their HIV status and 71% of adults diagnosed with HIV were on treatment.

The preliminary findings on testing and treatment coverage were presented on Wednesday at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Boston. The primary outcome of the study – the impact of expanded treatment coverage on HIV incidence – is expected to be reported in mid-2018.

PopART, also known as HPTN 071, is a large community-randomised trial being carried out in Zambia and Kwazulu Natal, South Africa. The study is testing the impact on HIV incidence of household-based HIV testing and linkage to care by community HIV care providers (CHiPs), and immediate initiation of antiretroviral treatment delivered through routine health care services.

PopART is an important test of the feasibility of offering testing and treatment at a very large scale, essential for achievement of the 90-90-90 target of 90% diagnosed, 90% of diagnosed people on treatment and 90% of those on treatment virally suppressed.

Evidence from the pilot phase suggests that although progress is a little slower than expected, it is possible to achieve high levels of testing and treatment initiation – the first two 90s – in sub-Saharan Africa.