In response to the recent discovery of a more virulent subtype variant of HIV in the Netherlands, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) calls for the redoubling of global efforts to expand access to antiretroviral treatment (ART) and rapid HIV testing.
“The study published in Science estimates that people diagnosed with the newly discovered subtype-B variant can, on average, develop advanced HIV disease substantially faster than people with other subtype variants, if they are not on treatment,” said Dr. Jorge Saavedra, Executive Director of the AHF Global Public Health Institute at the University of Miami. “This means early HIV detection and treatment initiation, along with robust genomic sequencing capacity, are as important as ever, especially when COVID-19 has stretched public health resources thin around the world.”
“With at least 10 million people worldwide not receiving ART, AIDS is still very much a global pandemic crisis,” added Saavedra. “What’s more, COVID-19 is showing us how dangerous new variants can be when a pandemic is not under control; therefore, we must continue calling on our leaders to keep the promise on AIDS and keep funding the global response.”
Researchers say the new subtype variant has circulated in the Netherlands since the 1990s and remains receptive to treatment. To read more about the study, visit https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abk1688.
AHF provides rapid HIV testing, prevention services, and linkage to care in the Netherlands. For more information on our services, click here.