A Research To-Do List for Improving HIV Treatment and Prevention in Women and Children

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What is the best way to scale up and improve HIV treatment, care, and prevention for women and children?

The International AIDS Society tries to answer that pressing question with today’s release of a “comprehensive research agenda” focused specifically on addressing HIV knowledge gaps related to women and children. The IAS document, called “Asking the Right Questions: Advancing and HIV Research Agenda for Women and Children,” was created in coordination with more than a dozen other global health organizations.

This coalition notes that women and children make up the majority of the 33 million people living with HIV today, and yet there are many scientific barriers to proper treatment and prevention. For example, treating HIV in infants and children is very difficult because of a lack of pediatric dosages of antiretroviral drugs.

“HIV is the leading cause of death among women of reproductive age, and the leading cause of child death in many African countries, yet women and children are often either overlooked completely or folded into general responses to HIV,” IAS Executive Director Robin Gorna says in this press release touting the research agenda. “This agenda defines priority research needed to greatly improve our knowledge about and capacity to prevent and treat HIV in women and children. Implementation of this research agenda is key to closing these knowledge and service gaps, and to saving women’s and children’s lives.”

The research agenda lists four general categories as priorities:

1) Clinical research on prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) and pediatric treatment

2) Clinical research on treatment issues for women

3) Operations research for women

4) Operations and implementation research related to PMTCT, including pediatric care, treatment and support.

Click here to read the whole document.

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