Focus on those who are more vulnerable with HIV
When data is collected over a longer period, as in the IeDEA research program, important trends can be identified, and can help guide actions taken in health policy. The large data sets of the global IeDEA collaboration also allow mathematical models to be built at the country level. The findings from Bern's research are of great interest to international public health partners such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNAIDS.
In recent years, very specific questions have been addressed in more and more studies that have been carried out. These focus, for example, on vulnerable groups such as children and adolescents living with HIV, or on the growing problem of chronic diseases such as cancer. Early antiretroviral therapy is important for preventing cancer in adults with HIV. The same is true for infants infected with HIV perinatally: the earlier the therapy is started, the better the prognosis. However, a HIV infection continues to be associated with a high mortality rate in this age group.
Over the past two years, the one-of-a-kind IeDEA network has been uniquely poised to study effects of the COVID pandemic on HIV-infected individuals. Among other things, a study in health facilities in the Western Cape near Cape Town showed that COVID-19 mortality is significantly higher among people with HIV or tuberculosis.
Support and further training in the network