December 8, 2021
Data published by The Lancet HIV and reported by Healio ahead of World AIDS Day show children and adolescents on ART lag adults in progress toward achieving viral suppression. According to the study, global percentages showed they trailed adults each year of reported progress, falling from 64% in Year One to 59% by Year Three, which compared to 79% and 65%, respectively, for adults.
The study included 21,954 children and adolescents from 106 sites in 22 countries and 255,662 adults from 143 sites in 30 countries.
UNAIDS announced global goals in 2014 to control HIV by 2030. This is the “95-95-95 strategy” in which 95% of people with HIV know their status, 95% of people with HIV are on ART, and 95% of people on treatment are virally suppressed. According to one of the researchers, viral suppression is important for people with HIV to have better health outcomes and to reduce the risk of transmission, yet most studies have reported on suppression rates as opposed to accounting for viral load testing among those who fell out of care.
“HIV treatment in children is complicated by availability of pediatric formulations of antiretroviral drugs, issues surrounding disclosure, and the challenges of managing a chronic disease through the turbulence of adolescence. And once an HIV-infected child makes it to adulthood, the transition from a child-centered to adult-centered healthcare setting is beleaguered by the risk of loss to follow-up, with studies showing that virologic suppression tends to worsen in the first few years after healthcare transition.” – Tanya Rogo, MD, MPH, FAAP