World AIDS Day 2022
While Africa remains the most affected region of the world, the World Health Organisation reports 90.5k cases in the UK, 1.2 million in the US and 1.85 million in India. And while there have been many advances in the treatment of HIV, driving gains in both quality of life and life expectancy, there is still further opportunity for clinicians to respond in a more agile way to the different requirements of their patients.
By the end of 2021, there were 38.4 million people around the world living with HIV and 1.5 million new cases reported. Sadly there are still 650k deaths from HIV-related illnesses globally every year.
One of the key things we know at Avegen, is that when patients are given more control over the management of their condition, through transformative digital health products (DHPs), they report higher levels of satisfaction. No more so than in patients living with HIV where confident management of the different stages of this chronic health condition is key to living a long and healthy life post diagnosis. Avegen have designed, set up and deployed three DHPs that meet the needs of at-risk, newly diagnosed and stable patients in specific cities around the world, though the location of our user engagement is a striking reminder of how HiV firmly touches every corner of the globe.
This global footprint highlights the importance of providing the patient with choices according to their environment, lived experience and needs. We are working to move past a world where a templated approach to care fails to impact a patient’s lived experience and change risk behaviours.
We focus on inclusive and effective outreach - where HM-DHP-HIV-3 helps to determine the most effective messaging approach to increase the uptake of HIV testing and condom use amongst high-risk populations. By creating a link between the online space of WhatsApp to local HIV testing clinics, the platform enables a seamless journey from recruitment to registration, through program management up until final reward redemption. The data captured allows us to map the treatment cascade for sexually transmitted infections to mental health, through to the all-crucial antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence over an 18 month period and the findings from these early studies will help to develop better education and social media campaigns targeting at risk populations around the world.
We deliver education by nudging people living with HIV and AIDS (PLHA) towards health seeking behaviour and ensuring ART Adherence. In Mumbai, for example, there is a 7% risk of being lost to follow up at one of the 19 government run ART centres over the 3 months following diagnosis and first enrolment. Given there are 38,000 PLHA in Mumbai and these centres receive 5000+ new enrollments every year, with Poor Health Seeking Behaviour frequently observed, there is a pressing need for change. That 7% equates to 7,000 patients a year delaying crucial treatment across India. This reduced access decreases their quality of life and shortens their life expectancy. HM-DHP-HIV-2 provides educational content that is gamified, enabling the app to deliver a responsive user journey, where each login shows topics of interest and quizzes where the user has previously recorded a low score. This data in turn helps with Counsellor Training at the ART centres and strengthens the in-person hand holding being offered to these diverse and marginalised communities.
We digitise care pathways - for both the patients and their clinical team in 2 large NHS clinics in central London, we have driven staff efficiencies, cost savings and a reduction in no show appointments to 4.6% against a national average of 10%. At an average cost of £130 for an NHS appointment, this equates to savings of £50,000+ for the service, with nearly 9,000 appointments scheduled through the app annually. Nationally it could save the NHS £1.3M - cold hard proof that allowing patients to take control of their schedule delivers improved outcomes and lasting results. HM-DHP-HIV-1 also visualises reviewed test results in the app and improves the quality and depth of patient reported outcomes shared by issuing pre-appointment questionnaires.
Avegen is working in close partnership with our clients to address this spectrum of needs and behaviours through dedicated DHPs for PLHA communities around the world. Whether they are a pharmaceutical company seeking the ultimate cure, or charities fighting the ongoing stigma these patients faces day in, day out; our tailored DHPs remove friction and barriers.
The benefits for companies are clear. When clinics achieve 84% attendance rates, they are able to focus appointments on improving the patients’ health outcomes. Plus the more information that patients can provide prior to their appointments, the more clinicians are enabled to improve their overall experience.
For HIV patients, 96% of whom reported that Avegen’s current products are meeting their needs, we are improving quality of life, which is the natural outcome of improved condition management. Quality of life is a key factor in reducing transmission - which sets the world on a path to total eradication, something Avegen and our partners are working to deliver.
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