Reaching 90-90-90 in rural communities in East Africa: lessons from the Sustainable East Africa Research in Community Health Trial

Curr Opin HIV AIDS. 2019 Nov;14(6):449-454. doi: 10.1097/COH.0000000000000585.


Purpose of review: There is an urgent need to understand new population-level approaches that achieve high levels of treatment and viral suppression for persons living with HIV.

Recent findings: The SEARCH Universal test and treat (UTT) trial conducted in Kenya and Uganda aimed to reduce HIV incidence and improve community health. SEARCH offered HIV and multidisease testing at health fairs followed by home testing for nonparticipants in 32 communities, each with approximately 10 000 persons. In the 16 intervention communities, UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets were achieved within 3 years, reaching '92-95-90' and 79% population-level viral suppression. HIV incidence declined by 32% between year 1 and 3 of follow-up. Key principles of SEARCH's approach included community engagement, integration of HIV with multidisease services, rapid ART start upon HIV diagnosis, and patient-centered, streamlined care. SEARCH's community health approach also reduced HIV mortality, annual TB incidence, and uncontrolled hypertension compared with a country standard of care. Population-level viral suppression increased beyond the UNAIDS 73% target in women and men and reached levels well above recent country estimates across much of sub-Saharan Africa.

Summary: SEARCH provides one example of how to rapidly surpass UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets while addressing community health on the path to HIV epidemic control.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Africa, Eastern / epidemiology
  • Anti-HIV Agents / administration & dosage*
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • HIV Infections / virology
  • HIV-1 / drug effects
  • HIV-1 / physiology
  • Humans
  • Public Health
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data


  • Anti-HIV Agents