Nicola goes to PATA, Cape Town

Nicola at PATA with clinic teams from Zimbabwe (Newlands Clinic, Mpilo Hospital and UBH)

This week, Nicola is joining the Newlands Clinic Team at the Paediatric AIDS Treatment for Africa (PATA) Forum in Cape Town, South Africa. Clinic teams from across Southern Africa and Nigeria are present and themes for the week include “The Cascade of Care”, “Disclosure” and the “Management of Co-infections” in children with HIV. Nicola has taken the opportunity to lobby for viral load testing in children, stating that “whilst we applaud ourselves for getting so many children on to ARV treatment, there is an international emergency, where the same children and adolescents are failing treatment. Yet we don’t know this until they present with clinical failure when it is often too late and they are dying. We need access to viral loads so that we can identify children who are failing treatment early”. She also advocated for the need for governments to really consider policy which advocates for early disclosure of HIV status to children with HIV. This is particularly important to support health workers through the common scenario where families are not willing for their children to be told their HIV status yet it is clearly in the best interests of the child to do so. The Government of Zimbabwe has developed very clear policy and guidelines on this issue which could assist other countries thinking through the same issues

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