Strategies for Identifying and Linking HIV-Infected Infants, Children, and Adolescents to HIV Treatment Services in Resource Limited Settings

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Abstract

Many children living with HIV in resource-limited settings remain undiagnosed and at risk for HIV-related mortality and morbidity. This article describes 5 key strategies for strengthening HIV case finding and linkage to treatment for infants, children, and adolescents. These strategies result from lessons learned during the Accelerating Children's HIV/AIDS Treatment Initiative, a public–private partnership between the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Children's Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF). The 5 strategies include (1) implementing a targeted mix of HIV case finding approaches (eg, provider-initiated testing and counseling within health facilities, optimization of early infant diagnosis, index family testing, and integration of HIV testing within key population and orphan and vulnerable children programs); (2) addressing the unique needs of adolescents; (3) collecting and using data for program improvement; (4) fostering a supportive political and community environment; and (5) investing in health system–strengthening activities. Continued advocacy and global investments are required to eliminate AIDS-related deaths among children and adolescents.

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