Unitaid at IAS 2017: Day 3 summary

Our booth was a hive of activity today with talks from EGPAF, Solthis, and Unitaid staff


  1. Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet
    Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet
  2. Day three of the conference and we're getting into the swing of things. Remember that press conference yesterday? French newspaper La Libération ran a story about Unitaid and our HIV self-testing portfolio.
  3. It includes the following quote from Unitaid Executive Director Lelio Marmora:
  4. "[In the first phase of the STAR project we managed to reach a significant number of people who had not taken the test. Young people, people at risk, people who did not dare to go to a screening site for fear of being seen or even stigmatized. There was very little refusal."
  5. Today was a busy day at the Unitaid booth. Rebecca Bailey of EGPAF kicked off proceedings with a look at point-of-care, early-infant diagnostics. She shared results from the Unitaid-funded "Integrating point-of-care, early-infant diagnostics for HIV into national laboratory networks" project.
  6. "Under the conventional approach to early infant diagnosis, only about half of children exposed to infection are tested; test results are received for only half of those tested; and only about half of infants who are diagnosed as HIV-positive are put on treatment," said Bailey, who is Associate Director of the project.

    By introducing an innovative “hub and spoke” point-of-care platform, access to testing and treatment was speeded up dramatically.
  7. EGPAF Technical Advisor Flavia Bianchi then presented detailed results from the project.
  8. Data from 6 countries – Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Lesotho , Rwanda, Swaziland and Zimbabwe – showed that results for almost 100 per cent of infants undergoing tests were obtained on the same day, compared with only 77 per cent under the previous approach. The median for receiving results back from medical laboratories was 53 days, said Bianchi.
  9. The cost per test was US $19-39 and US $21-32 , respectively, under the conventional and point-of-care approaches. We directed people to find out more on our website, and stay tuned for further updates from the project:
  10. Carmen Pérez Casas and Wale Ajose of the Strategy team were the first Unitaid voices on the booth today. They presented an informal session about our HIV portfolio.
  11. And Robert Matiru jumped in for a quick overview of our investments:
  12. Next up, Gelise and Smiljka presented the perspective of Mozambique and Cameroon on point-of-care, early-infant diagnostic testing. This combined data from the EGPAF [bit.ly/2v2FFCn] and CHAI/UNICEF [bit.ly/2vVoCOE] grants.
  13. Later in the afternoon, virologist Christine Rouzioux of Université Paris Descartes presented the OPP-ERA project (Open Polyvalent Platforms for Improving the lives of people living with HIV)
  14. Rouzioux, who is Scientific Director of the OPP-ERA project, gave an impassioned presentation of the need to scale up access to viral load testing and to closely monitor people living with HIV in in order to ensure the best possible treatment outcomes.