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Open Access Commentary

Sustainability of programs to reach high risk and marginalized populations living with HIV in resource limited settings: implications for HIV treatment and prevention

Brian T Montague1*, Bea Vuylsteke2 and Anne Buvé2

Author Affiliations

1 Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University, Miriam Hospital, 164 Summit Ave, Providence, RI 02906, USA

2 Department of Public Health and ITM HIV/AIDS Center, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nationalestraat 155, B-2000 Antwerp, Belgium

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BMC Public Health 2011, 11:701  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-701

Published: 14 September 2011

Abstract

The experiences of the past 10 years have shown that it is feasible to treat HIV infected patients with ART even in severely resource constrained settings. Achieving the levels of antiretroviral coverage necessary to impact the course of the HIV epidemic remains a challenge and antiretroviral therapy coverage in most nations remains short of even current recommendations. Though treatment as prevention and seek, test, treat and retain strategies are attractive, realization of the benefits of these strategies will require the ability to successfully engage key hard to reach populations such as sex workers. The successes engaging these populations in research settings as seen in the article by Huet et al are encouraging, however key questions remain regarding the sustainability of these efforts as patients are transitioned back to national HIV control programs, many of which are struggling even to maintain the current panels in care in the face declining external funding for HIV care. To achieve the critical goals of increasing treatment uptake and retention and thereby curtail the epidemic of HIV, advocacy from both medicine and public health providers will be critical to generate the support and political will necessary to sustain and enhance the necessary HIV care programs worldwide.