Programme de recherche sur la mise en oeuvre de technolgies de dépistage au point de service pour le VIH et les co-infections

 

Nitika Pail

Université McGill

 

Domaine : maladies infectieuses et immunitaires

Programme chercheurs-boursiers - Junior 2

Concours 2015-2016

My research program is focused on developing innovative strategies with rapid testing technologies for HIV and related co-infections to expand access, improve early detection and treatment, reduce transmission and control them in communities.

Early detection of HIV infection and timely treatment offers the maximum benefit to the individuals and saves health costs. But about 25% of Canadians living with HIV are unaware they are infected; many people avoid conventional HIV testing at clinics because of privacy concerns, discrimination, and long waiting times. These barriers can be diminished with HIV self-testing. The first project will adapt our mobile phone based strategy (HIVSmart!) to evaluate an unsupervised HIV self-testing strategy in men who have sex in men at a Montreal clinic. In future, we plan to scale up this self-testing strategy across Africa and Canada. We will also develop a mathematical model to evaluate the impact of self-testing on transmission and evaluate cost savings.

In global settings, timely screening for HIV related co-infections such as Hepatitis C and B, and Syphilis, is not being performed due to lack of integrated rapid screening strategies impacting transmission and control of these infections. The second project involves developing an integrated multiplexed strategy to screen and treat co-infections for pregnant women, to prevent their transmission to their infants. The entire process will be facilitated by mobile applications and offered by health care workers. Additionally, we will compile evidence on these testing strategies, to inform public health policies. We will also organize conferences and workshops to share our findings.