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

 

Nitika Pai

Université McGill

 

Domaine : maladies infectieuses et immunitaires

Programme Chercheurs-boursiers - Senior

Concours 2018-2019

My research program focuses on developing innovative strategies with rapid testing technologies for HIV and related co-infections (Hepatitis C & B, Syphilis) so as to expand access, improve early detection and treatment, and reduce and control community transmissions.

Early detection of HIV infection and timely treatment offers the maximum benefit to the individuals and saves health costs. About 30-40% of individuals worldwide and 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. HIV self-testing can diminish these barriers. Within two years, we will complete our HIVSmart! strategy evaluation in South Africa and take it to scale across the region.  We completed our evaluation in men who have sex in men at a Montreal clinic. We will publish our work on innovations, impact, cost effectiveness and qualitative research. As well, through a recent partnership with IAPAC, we propose to take HIVSmart! to scale in 70 fast track cities, thereby scaling the strategy globally.

In global settings, timely screening for HIV related co-infections (HCV, HBV, and Syphilis), is not being performed due to lack of integrated rapid point of care screening strategies impacting transmission and control of these infections. The second Canadian project involves reverse innovating our tested integrated multiplexed app based strategy to screen at risk populations for co-infections in Canada, to control transmission. The program will be offered by health care workers in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, and Nova Scotia.

Additionally, we will compile evidence on these testing strategies, to inform public health policies for WHO and UNAIDS 90-90-90 initiative. To share our findings with the larger global diagnostic community, we will organize conferences and workshops.