The Case for Viral Load Testing in Adolescents in Resource-Limited Settings

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Marcus R, et al. JIAS (2017), 20(S7): e25002. doi:10.1002/jia2.25002.

The pediatric HIV epidemic is maturing, with increasing numbers of children living into adolescence and young adulthood due to the scale-up of antiretroviral therapy (ART), and HIV-infected children with slow disease progression presenting to health services for the first time in adolescence. This review discusses the rationale for priorizing viral load (VL) monitoring among adolescents and the associated challenges. Since adolescents have disproportionately high rates of virological failure, the authors conclude that targeting this age group for VL monitoring may increase efficiency in identifying treatment failure and determining regimen choices, as well as provide valuable lessons to inform broader scale-up.