Realizing the Potential of Routine Viral Load Testing in Sub-Saharan Africa

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El-Sadr W.M., et al. JIAS (2017), 20(S7): e25010. doi:10.1002/jia2.25010.

Viral load (VL) measurement is a critical tool to assess the impact of HIV treatment efforts, but though VL measurement is a laboratory assay, the challenge of VL scale-up is not for laboratorians only. The experience of early infant diagnosis (EID) scale-up highlights the importance of conceptualizing VL testing as a continuum; a series of steps, each critical for achieving the ultimate goal—swift and appropriate clinical management to maximize the chance of sustained viral suppression. This editorial describes the VL continuum and recommends that programs utilize viral suppression as the indicator of programmatic effectiveness.