On behalf of IFARA, Fred Schaich spoke with Bernhard Kerschberger, M.D., M.P.H., about a "test and treat" pilot project in Swaziland that was presented at this year's International AIDS Conference. The results were very positive, with a very high uptake of testing and starting treatment, good retention in care and good viral suppression. The country's government is now considering scaling up this approach. Community involvement is key to this success, Kerschberger believes. His organization, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), takes several steps to encourage community involvement. First it identifies people who are living openly with HIV within the community and trains them to become peer counselors. Next, MSF volunteers, along with these local counselors, meet with community members and traditional leaders to explain the benefits of HIV testing and early treatment. Last, the organization helps those living with HIV to form community treatment groups of about six persons who each take turns picking up medications at the clinic and distributing them to group members. While this approach helps treatment efforts, Swaziland's high HIV prevalence rate still needs to be addressed with a combination of prevention interventions, including pre-exposure prophylaxis, Kerschberger concluded.
Watch the video to learn more:
About the panelist:
Bernhard Kerschberger, M.D., M.P.H., Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders)
The video above has been posted on TheBodyPRO.com with permission from our partners at the International Foundation for Alternative Research in AIDS (IFARA). Visit IFARA's website or YouTube channel to watch more video interviews from the conference, as well as earlier meetings.