CDC Experts Present Innovative Research at CROI in Seattle

From February 13 to 16, leaders and researchers from CDC’s Division of Global HIV & TB (DGHT) will attend the annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Seattle, Washington. CROI brings together top researchers from around the world to share the latest studies and important developments in HIV, Tuberculosis (TB) and related infectious diseases. More than 20 abstracts were accepted from DGHT staff on various topics, including using innovation and data to drive program efforts and combatting drug-resistant TB. Here are just a few of the highlights:

Real Progress in the HIV Epidemic: PHIA Findings from Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Zambia

DGHT experts – Dr. Andrew Voetsch, General Population Surveillance Team Lead; Dr. Laura Porter, Associate Director for Data Integration and Analysis; and Hetal Patel, Biologist – co-authored a late breaker abstract showcasing the results from the Population-based HIV Impact Assessments (PHIA) in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe that show remarkable progress in achieving global 90-90-90 targets for HIV control. These data will provide critical information to help shape future HIV policies and programs, and shine a light on how best to reach specific populations that need greater attention and services that meet their needs.

Combatting Drug-Resistant TB

The global public health community needs to rethink and broaden our approach to preventing the spread of drug-resistant TB. DGHT’s Dr. Sarita Shah will present on the global epidemiology of – and emerging trends in – drug-resistant TB in a symposium that also features talks on new treatment approaches and diagnostic tools. Dr. Shah is also a co-author on two studies presented at CROI related to drug-resistant TB epidemiology and transmission.

Reaching Global Goals for HIV Viral Load Suppression

Evidence shows that starting and staying on HIV treatment significantly improves the health of those living with HIV, allows people with HIV to reach viral suppression, and reduces transmission of the disease. This session – co-convened by DGHT’s Maternal and Child Health Branch Chief Dr. Laura Broyles – is for clinicians and scientists who are interested in understanding the progress and challenges in maximizing the percentage of people on antiretroviral therapy who are virally suppressed, particularly in low- and middle-income settings, and how global targets for viral suppression can be achieved in the future. This session will focus on a variety of topics, including measuring viral load, using technology to improve adherence, and the threats to global targets for viral load suppression among key and vulnerable populations.

Overview of the Global Burden of Non-Communicable Diseases in HIV Infection

Low- and middle-income countries are experiencing an epidemiological shift as the burden of non-communicable diseases – including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, renal diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, and cancer – increases. In some regions, particularly sub-Saharan Africa, the dual HIV and non-communicable disease epidemics will have adverse effects on the quality of life and will likely increase global inequities. Given that many low- and middle-income countries face rigid clinical infrastructure, we need innovative ways to provide more comprehensive care in resource-limited settings. This symposium, led by DGHT’s Dr. Pragna Patel, will review the current evidence on the burden of HIV and non-communicable diseases and discuss the risk factors and clinical issues relevant to people with HIV. The symposium will also highlight examples of current efforts to integrate HIV and non-communicable disease care in resource-limited settings, and discuss priorities for future research.

Symposium and plenary lectures, workshops, themed discussions, and oral presentations will be available online as well as via webcasts. Electronic posters will be accessible to download the week after the conference.