Jul. 14, 2021

WHO at the 11th IAS Virtual Conference on HIV Science (18-21 July 2021)

WHO at the 11th IAS Virtual Conference on HIV Science (18-21 July 2021)

The following senior World Health Organization officials are leading the WHO delegation at the 11th IAS Conference on HIV Science:

- Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist

- Dr Mike Ryan, Executive Director, Health Emergencies Programme

- Dr Meg Doherty, Director, Global HIV, Hepatitis and Sexually Transmitted Infections Programmes

At a series of WHO-led satellite events, the Organization will present an important new study on HIV and COVID-19, and launch new recommendations on HIV, hepatitis, and sexually transmitted infections:

·       Clinical characteristics and prognostic factors in people living with HIV hospitalized with COVID-19: findings from the WHO Global Clinical Platform: This new report examines data reported from 37 countries regarding the risk of adverse COVID-19 outcomes in people living with HIV (PLHIV). The study confirms that HIV infection is a significant independent risk factor for both severe/ critical COVID-19 presentation at hospital admission and in-hospital mortality. It is informed by data from WHO’s Global Clinical Platform for COVID-19, which collects individual-level clinical data and characterizes COVID-19 among individuals hospitalized with suspected or confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection around the globe. The findings of the report will be discussed by WHO experts at the IAS virtual press conference on Thursday, 15 July 15:00 CEST. The link to attend the press conference will be sent to registered media. If you have not yet registered your attendance, register here.

·       WHO Guidelines on HIV prevention, testing, treatment, service delivery and monitoring – recommendations for a public health approach (third edition) 2021. The new edition updates the previous edition of the WHO consolidated guidelines on HIV and brings together important clinical and programmatic guidance developed by WHO since 2016. These guidelines provide over 200 evidence-informed recommendations and good practice statements for a public health response to the prevention, testing, and treatment of people living with HIV. Differentiated approaches to HIV service delivery are emphasized, with several recommendations made to allow treatment to be started outside of the health facility and to reduce the frequency of contact with health services for people who are doing well on treatment.  These recommendations will help to ensure that people with HIV can start and continue treatment during times of service disruption as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

·       Launch of Hepatitis C virus self-testing Guidelines: The new guidelines strongly recommend HCV self-testing to be offered as an additional approach to HCV testing services. During COVID-19, testing and treatment services for HIV, viral hepatitis and STI have been affected globally causing substantial declines in testing, diagnoses and treatment. Self-care has been further accelerated through the COVID-19 pandemic and self-testing has been highlighted as critical tool that could address growing gaps. WHO will also highlight the World Hepatitis Day 2021 “Hep Can’t Wait” campaign to be commemorated on 28 July : https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-hepatitis-day/2021

·       WHO will highlight and discuss findings of the WHO guideline for screening and treatment of cervical pre-cancer lesions for cervical cancer prevention. The new guidelines recommend HPV DNA screening as the primary method for detecting cervical disease in place of cytology ("pap smears") or visual inspection with acetic acid, which are the two most commonly used methods today.


·       Prior to IAS 2021, WHO will take part in the STI and HIV World Congress, where we will launch updated Guidelines for the management of symptomatic sexually transmitted infections (STIs). These guidelines aim to raise the quality of managing people with symptoms of STIs through providing evidence-based recommendations. These guidelines are intended to support countries in updating their national guidance for the management of people with symptoms of STIs.