On the 33rd anniversary of World AIDS Day, the Partnership for Research on Vaccines and Infectious Diseases in Liberia (PREVAIL) unites with Liberians and people around the world to show support for people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHIV) and to memorialize those who lost their lives to the disease.
UNAIDS estimates 38 million people are living with HIV globally; about 1.7 million of them are children less than 15 years old. Approximately two-thirds (67%) of these people live in Africa, including 13% in Western and Central Africa.
“In keeping with this year’s World AIDS Day theme, ‘End Inequalities, End AIDS, End Pandemics,’ we must create equitable access to HIV testing, treatment, and prevention strategies for all PLWHIV, with special focus on vulnerable populations and communities left behind,” PREVAIL said in a statement.
PREVAIL, a joint Liberia-U.S. research partnership, has been conducting high-quality medical research on Ebola and other infectious diseases in Liberia since 2015. During the past 3 years, PREVAIL has included research to better understand the clinical, viral, and immunological characteristics and progression of HIV disease in PLWHIV in both Montserrado and Margibi counties through the P8 study. It is projected that the research findings from the study will help us better understand the epidemiology of HIV/AIDS in Liberia and facilitate an improved standard of care for PLWHIV in Liberia. By working with community-based HIV support groups in Liberia, PREVAIL gives rights to stakeholders in its research and enhances the participants’ knowledge about their health.
The ongoing study is open to all newly diagnosed individuals for voluntary enrollment after an informed consent process that describes the study and answers any questions.
The study provides free periodic medical exams to participants, assesses their response to ART, and provides medical diagnoses for many opportunistic infections that may arise. Additionally, at the request of the National AIDs Control Program and John F. Kennedy Hospital, PREVAIL is helping them coordinate viral load testing services. This alliance aims to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS by preventing new infections and ensuring viral load suppression among those who are already infected while providing quality, timely, and respectful care to HIV patients in Liberia. These high-level contributions support the Government of Liberia toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
As we commemorate World AIDS Day, we are thankful for the remarkable strides made through clinical research, including the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV during pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. PREVAIL will continue to contribute to the Ministry of Health and National AIDS Commission of Liberia’s 2030 strategic goals on HIV/AIDS through its medical research and it will work with UNAIDS, the Liberia Ministry of Health, its partners, and interested communities toward ending the HIV epidemic.