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AIDS Eye Initiative

Is CMV retinitis causing blindness in resource-poor settings? Can eye examinations help early detection of tuberculosis and other opportunistic infections?

The global epidemic of HIV/AIDS is the worst public health disaster since the Black Plague, with 33 million people infected, 20 million dead, and 12 million children orphaned. The AIDS Eye Initiative reduces blindness and mortality of those affected with HIV/AIDS.

The Facts:

  • Over 90% of avoidable blindness in patients with HIV/AIDS is caused by CMV (cytomegalovirus – a cousin of herpes), and there is little capacity to diagnose or treat this infection in developing countries
  • Systemic treatment of CMV retinitis has been shown to reduce mortality in AIDS patients.
  • Retinal examination may improve diagnosis of Cryptococcal Meningitis and TB, two other leading causes of AIDS mortality
Our Solution:
  • Train AIDS doctors to perform retinal exams using indirect ophthalmoscopes
  • Develop and test operations strategies for introducing basic eye screening at primary care clinics
  • Develop the evidence base to support implementing the solution (see referenced docs under “Learn More”
  • Develop a web-based training package to reach more practitioners about Indirect Ophthalmoscopy and HIV-related opportunistic infections
  • Collaborate with HIV treatment programs in Myanmar (Medical Action Myanmar and Doctors Without Borders); China (AIDS Care China); and Russia (Botkin Infectious Disease Hospital, St. Petersburg).


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