The global community has made substantial progress toward halting and beginning to reverse the HIV epidemic. Progress unimaginable a few years ago has been made in preventing HIV infection and the provision of AIDS treatment, care, and support. Scientific results that established the effectiveness of various tools and approaches—alone or in combination—has enabled the dream of achieving an AIDS-free generation to be within reach. These tools and approaches include antiretroviral treatment, HIV testing services, voluntary medical male circumcision, condoms, and behavior change communication.
Despite great progress in identifying effective tools to prevent and treat HIV, many questions remain about how to ensure people can benefit from them. There are also many challenges regarding the “how to” of service delivery. We need good solutions and models for what works best and is cost-effective. Operations research provides the framework and methodologies to address such how-to questions as:
- How do we optimize use of biomedical interventions?
- How can we leverage community platforms for HIV prevention, treatment, and care?
- How do we strengthen the continuum of care within health systems to improve treatment initiation, retention, and viral suppression?
- How do we address social and structural barriers to meet the needs of key populations and other groups at heightened risk?
Answering such questions through operations research is critical for building on the progress already achieved in the global fight against HIV.