2017 International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Science Daily Recaps

PEPFAR is participating in the 9th Annual International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Science taking place in Paris, France. Below are some daily recaps of events.

July 25, 2107

On the penultimate day of IAS 2017, Ambassador Birx was a panelist at the Special Session entitled, “Translating Impact from AIDS for Global Health.” The Ambassador spoke to the remarkable impact that PEPFAR has not only in saving lives, but in changing the very course of the pandemic. In addition, she highlighted how PEPFAR investments to address HIV have built and strengthened health care delivery systems in our partner countries, which are leveraging these systems to prevent, detect, and respond to other new and existing health threats – enhancing global health security and protecting America’s borders.

The Ambassador also appeared at a press conference on “Combating Stigma for Key Populations,” where she stressed that stigma and discrimination remain key barriers to people accessing HIV services, which must be addressed. She emphasized that when any person is stigmatized or unable to access services due to discrimination, the health and dignity of everyone in the community are threatened, and the epidemic continues to expand rather than contract. She reaffirmed PEPFAR's deep commitment to ensure those in need of HIV services can safely access them. 

July 24, 2017

Today, at IAS 2017, the U.S. government announced that through support from PEPFAR four African countries are approaching control of their HIV epidemics.

Groundbreaking new PEPFAR data show that the HIV epidemic is coming under control across all age groups in Swaziland, the country with the highest HIV prevalence in the world. Additional PEPFAR-supported studies released in December 2016 for Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe also demonstrate significant progress toward controlling the HIV epidemics in these countries.

In Swaziland, new HIV infections have been nearly halved among adults, and HIV viral load suppression – a key marker of the body successfully controlling the virus – has doubled since 2011. These data suggest that Swaziland has met the global target for community viral load suppression among HIV-positive adults four years ahead of schedule.

PEPFAR also announced its latest program results. As of March 31, 2017, PEPFAR supported 12.3 million men, women, and children with life-saving antiretroviral treatment and more than 12.5 million voluntary medical male circumcisions, putting PEPFAR on track to achieve its ambitious HIV prevention and treatment targets for the end of 2017.

July 23, 2017

Today marked the opening of IAS 2017. Ambassador Deborah L. Birx participated in several satellite sessions focused on a wide range of topics. These included:

1) Results from the PEPFAR-supported Population-Based HIV Impact Assessments (PHIA) in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe, which achieved an average of 65 percent community viral load suppression among all HIV-infected adults, approaching the 73 percent target of the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets. For the first time, the PHIAs show validated declines in adult HIV incidence of 51-76 percent across these three countries. They also reveal key gaps among adolescents and young people in these same countries, for whom the average community viral load suppression was only 42 percent.

2) PEPFAR’s use of innovative HIV prevention interventions. This includes expansion of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), including for adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) at higher risk for HIV infection through our DREAMS public-private partnership, which is accelerating efforts to reduce new HIV infections among AGYW in 15 countries.

3) PEPFAR’s piloting of HIV self-testing in several African countries, including for index partner testing and testing the male partners of young women, informed by the STAR Project, the largest multi-country study conducted on HIV self-testing.

The Ambassador also participated in the IAS 2017 Opening Press Conference, where she reaffirmed the U.S. government’s commitment to supporting HIV/AIDS efforts in over 50 countries. She highlighted the remarkable global progress toward controlling the epidemic, saying that: “What we once thought was impossible is now possible.” She also spoke to the key gaps that remain, particularly in reaching and serving young women, young men, and key populations.

July 22, 2017

On the eve of the opening of IAS 2017, at the 90-90-90 Targets Workshop, Ambassador Deborah L. Birx joined a panel with several ministers of health and other global health leaders. The panel examined progress toward, and challenges in achieving, the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets for HIV testing, treatment, and viral suppression by 2020. At the Workshop, the Ambassador also presented an analysis of data from the PEPFAR-supported 2016 Population-Based HIV Impact Assessments (PHIAs) conducted in Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

The Ambassador spoke to the strong commitment of the Trump Administration to not only saving lives, but also changing the very course of the HIV pandemic, through its support for PEPFAR. She affirmed that PEPFAR will continue to invest in over 50 countries, maintain life-saving antiretroviral treatment for all of the people that it supports, provide services for orphans and vulnerable children, ensure that the most vulnerable and key populations have access to essential services to prevent and treat HIV, and accelerate progress toward controlling the pandemic in a subset of countries.

The Ambassador also highlighted the unique opportunity that PEPFAR has to accelerate its progress toward reaching epidemic control by 2020 through the UNAIDS 90-90-90 framework and expansion of HIV prevention in 13 high-burden countries while sustaining support to all populations and countries where PEPFAR works.

In her analysis of the PHIA data, the Ambassador showed that Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe have achieved an average of 65 percent community viral load suppression among all HIV-infected adults, approaching the 73 percent target of 90-90-90. For the first time, the PHIAs show validated declines in adult HIV incidence of 51-76 percent across these three countries. They also reveal key gaps among adolescents and young people in these same countries, for whom the average community viral load suppression was only 42 percent, and highlight the urgency of reaching them more effectively with HIV services.