NRL Training: Addressing the HIV Epidemic in Myanmar
In 2017, it was reported that there were 220,000 people living with HIV in Myanmar1. From 2010-2017, there have been sustained and focused efforts targeting key populations to reduce HIV incidence however despite a general decline in new HIV infections across Asia, there has been a rising epidemic of HIV in places such as Myanmar where funding of effective primary HIV prevention has been insufficient2. Myanmar is now one of 35 countries which together account for 90% of new HIV infections globally2. Although in 2017, the number of new infections remained steady compared to two years ago, data demonstrates that the annual incidence of infection is no longer declining at the rate it was between 2000 and 20103. It is for this reason that public health initiatives in Myanmar continue to focus on HIV- to prevent and treat HIV and also improve the accuracy of testing. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) works with ministries of health and other partners to improve the control of both HIV and TB infection. The programme includes building of laboratory capacity through a network of national public health laboratories whose work is essential in achieving an effective response to HIV, TB, as well as other infectious diseases4.
With funding from the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and through a Cooperative Agreement between the US CDC and the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), NRL Australia has provided technical assistance to support the quality of HIV testing services including viral load testing in Myanmar. NRL Trainers Susie Braniff and Kim Wilson visited the National Heath Laboratory in Yangon in October to provide theory training in preparation for the validation of the national HIV testing algorithm. They also conducted Train-the-Trainer training on HIV community-based screening and facilitated and participated in stakeholder meetings to support the ongoing quality of HIV testing services and HIV viral load testing
UNAIDS Data 2018, accessed 12 November, < >
Avert Global information and education on HIV and AIDS, accessed 12 November,
UNAIDS Data 2017, accessed 12 November,
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, accessed 12 November,