Time to strengthen HIV treatment and prevention for youth

By  Dr Mhairi Maskew  Dr. Jacob Bor  Dr. William Macleod  Carmona S, Sherman GG,  Dr. Matthew Fox  |  | 

In The Lancet HIV, Mhairi Maskew and colleagues1 use data from a large national laboratory database in South Africa to examine trends in access to public sector HIV treatment programmes by children and adolescents aged 1–19 years between 2005 and 2016. The authors
should be congratulated for highlighting important findings using national data in this often underexamined population, information that is needed to mount a national response. The authors report a ten times increase in the number of adolescents with viral load data, suggestive of antiretroviral therapy (ART) use, between 2005–08 and 2013–16. Prevention of mother-to-child transmission has worked remarkably well, with patients starting ART steadily decreasing since 2011 among patients aged 1–14 years.1 However, in line with global trends, the authors also identified large gaps in ART initiation among adolescents with presumed horizontal infection; less than half of patients seeking
care aged 15–19 years started ART.

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