Progress in the support of patients living with HIV / AIDS in Laos

June 16, 2010 - Vientiane (Laos)


On the 6 August 2009, the Centre Christophe Mérieux in Laos, Laotian training and research centre, signed a collaboration agreement with the HIV / AIDS / IST (CHAS) Centre in Laos for the introduction of viral load in this country in order to strengthen the follow-up of patients undergoing antiviral treatment.

The introduction of this examination is accompanied by the setting up of a working group of clinicians and biologists aiming to encourage information exchange and training.

The partnership is being launched alongside a system of virological follow-up of patients living with HIV / AIDS. This follow-up system of HIV positive patients undergoing treatment was validated and is subject to continuous quality checks.

Following the meetings of the ANRS South East Asian site held in Ho Chi Minh City in March 2009, Dr. Eric Nerrienet (Institut Pasteur Cambodia) and his team allowed the technological transfer of the viral load ARN of HIV-1 in real time (test ANRS) at the Christophe Mérieux Centre in Laos between May and October 2009.

The Christophe Mérieux Centre, a public organization attached to the Health Minister of Laos, has also signed a collaboration agreement with the national programme in order for the analysis to be accessible to the entire population through the financial aid of the Global Fund and GIP ESTHER.

In November 2009, an initial workshop uniting various different institutions, clinicians and laboratories, allowed the official opening of access to this virologic marker at a national level. In a few months, nearly 300 patients have already been able to benefit from at least one viral load.

In May 2010, a second workshop was organized in partnership with the WHO, ESTHER and Fondation Mérieux, under the patronage of CHAS, and with the support of Dr. Eric Nerrienet (Institut Pasteur Cambodia), Dr. Marcelo Fernandez (HVAIN, Vietnam) and Dr. Eugène Kroon (IATEC, Thailand).

This workshop united Laotian clinicians treating patients living with HIV / AIDS, national virologists, as well as, representatives of the national program and the different partners involved.

The meeting was an opportunity to present all accomplished projects to date, in particular concerning the set up of the viral load ARN of HIV-1, to recall the basis of interpretation, to discuss clinical cases and to re-discuss the position of the viral load in terms of national recommendations.

Initially, it was decided to strengthen the follow-up of the patients of the sites. In the second step, a second technology transfer of the tests of genotypic resistance to the ARV of the HIV / Hepatitis laboratory of Institut Pasteur Cambodia to the Centre Christophe Mérieux of Laos has been planned.

The progressive installation of the technology and its validation will be done during the summer and in the third quarter of 2010, thanks to a parallel reading (Center Christophe Mérieux / Institut Pasteur Cambodia) of the sequences and interpretations obtained. The continuous validation will be then ensured by an international external quality control.