FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Joana Casas, Program Communications Manager
amfAR’s TREAT Asia Program Begins Hepatitis C Treatment Study in HIV Co-Infected
Patients in Asia
Study Aims to Develop a Model of Care for Hepatitis C Treatment
in Resource-Limited Settings
NEW YORK, NY, Jan. 6, 2014 – amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, on Monday announced the launch of a multi-site clinical study in Asia that will address obstacles to treating hepatitis C in people co-infected with HIV. The study aims to develop a pilot model of care for hepatitis C treatment in resource-limited settings that can be replicated in the region, where treatment for the disease is costly and rarely accessible.
Led by amfAR’s TREAT Asia program, the study will be implemented in four partner HIV treatment centers: Cipto Mangunkusumo General Hospital in Jakarta, Indonesia; the HIV-NAT/Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Center in Bangkok, Thailand; the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Hanoi, Vietnam; and the University of Malaya Medical Centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
“As rates of hepatitis C and HIV co-infection continue to rise around the world, managing co-infection is one of the most important clinical challenges we face today,” said amfAR CEO Kevin Robert Frost. It is estimated that approximately five million people worldwide are co-infected with HIV and the hepatitis C virus (about 15 percent of all those living with HIV). People co-infected with HIV and hepatitis C have higher rates of progression to hepatitis C-related liver disease, which has become a significant cause of death in people living with HIV.
“Yet the resources needed to effectively treat them remain out of reach for most due to the high cost of hepatitis C medicines and the overall lack of experience with treating co-infected patients in the region,” said Annette Sohn, M.D., amfAR vice president and director of TREAT Asia.
In this study, a total of 200 HIV-positive patients with confirmed chronic hepatitis C infection and signs of liver disease will be offered free hepatitis C treatment. The treatment model will include the integration of hepatitis C treatment within routine HIV care, use of a simplified treatment protocol, intensive patient disease education, treatment preparedness and adherence support, as well as peer support.
“This is the first time a study is being done to show how we can implement treatment of hepatitis C in routine HIV care in Asia,” said Nicolas Durier, M.D., M.P.H., TREAT Asia’s director of research and one of the study’s principal investigators. “We hope that the model of care we have developed and our study findings will lead to replication and scale-up of hepatitis C treatment across the region, as well as bolster advocacy efforts aimed at expanding the availability of treatment.”
The study is sponsored by amfAR, the study drugs are provided by Merck Sharp and Dohme under its Investigator-Initiated Study Program, and hepatitis C molecular viral load and genotyping tests are provided by Abbott.
About TREAT Asia
Launched in 2001, TREAT Asia (Therapeutics Research, Education, and AIDS Training in Asia) is a cooperative network of clinics, hospitals, and research institutions working together with civil society to ensure the safe and effective delivery of HIV/AIDS treatments throughout Asia and the Pacific, and now encompasses 23 adult and 21 pediatric clinical sites and HIV support programs across the region.
amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, is one of the world’s leading nonprofit organizations dedicated to the support of AIDS research, HIV prevention, treatment education, and the advocacy of sound AIDS-related public policy. Since 1985, amfAR has invested more than $366 million in its programs and has awarded grants to more than 2,000 research teams worldwide. To learn more, visit us at www.amfar.org.
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