HIV Recency Assay Step-Down Training, Centers for Disease Control

Vitalant Research Institute

Project Years: 2019-2020

The Tracking with Recency Assays to Control the Epidemic (TRACE) program within the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) aims to establish surveillance systems to monitor and respond to the HIV epidemic, specifically focusing on tracking recent infections among people living with HIV as a measure of ongoing HIV transmission. The CDC awarded Vitalant Research Institute and UCSF a contract to support training of HIV test counselors around the world who would begin using the Asanté HIV-1 Rapid Recency Assay to detect recent infections.

Vitalant Research Institute hired Dr. Facente to provide capacity-building support for “step-down” trainings in PEPFAR countries. CDC would first provide trainings in a centralized location to laboratory technicians, midwives, and nurses in-country who had shown promise as trainers of their colleagues. After the training, these workers returned to the rural areas they serve to train colleagues in the use and management of the Asanté test. Dr. Facente provided quality assurance and technical assistance to trainers in the local setting as they built their skills and prepared for widespread implementation. Before the project was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Facente supported step-down trainings in Fort Portal, Uganda and Kampong Cham, Cambodia.