Ending the HIV Epidemic with Digital Health

The World Health Organization reports, based on statistics from the end of 2018, that about 38 million people are living with HIV around the world. While about 62% of those – about 23 million people – were receiving antiretroviral treatment by the end of 2018, another 21% of them did not even know their HIV status. That’s about 8 million people who didn’t even know they are infected, and who are at risk of infecting others.

The epidemic has impacted different regions of the world disproportionately. For example, Europe has about 2.5 million people living with HIV, and there about 1 Million people in the United States. The African region is the most severely affected, with nearly two-thirds of the total number of people living with HIV worldwide. Nearly 4% of the adult population in Africa are infected, and between 14 to 20% of those individuals are not even aware of their status.

South Africa, in particular, has the largest HIV epidemic in the world. Of the global number of people living with HIV, 19% live in South Africa. This country alone also accounts for about 15% of new infections and 11% of AIDS related deaths.

South Africa also has the largest treatment program in the world, so when it comes to looking at effective ways of managing people with a chronic, long term condition like HIV, South Africa has a lot of experience and resources focused in this area.

To tell us more about the technology and care models being used to treat such an enormous health crisis, I sought out two leaders who have worked at the leading edge of personal and population health for several decades. I wanted to understand more about the solutions that help manage a crisis on this scale, and how health systems are coordinating information and care on both a system and on an individual level. While our conversation focuses specifically on a project tackling HIV, there are some great tools and practices being deployed that can address other chronic diseases and health challenges.

Health Podcast Network

Back for his second appearance on Digital Health Today is KP Yelpaala. KP is the Founder and CEO of Access Mobile. KP is an entrepreneur and public health practitioner with a deep understanding of health systems and over 15 years of experience working across the public and private sectors in the United States, East and West Africa, and the Caribbean. He is an expert in national scale health program implementation, technology innovation and the opportunities that lie at the intersection of health and technology policy.

Also joining me is Dr. John Sargent of Broadreach. John co-founded BroadReach with Dr. Ernest Darkoh in 2003, and John serves as co-CEO overseeing the development of technology enabled solutions for the consulting business. He has been recognized by the World Economic Forum as the Social Entrepreneur of the Year in 2015 and by Frost & Sullivan with the Visionary Leadership Award in Healthcare.

And in a first for me here on Digital Health Today – John is a guest that I’ve known for over 30 years! Yes, John and I went to High School together back in Virginia Beach, Virginia. John was both our class president and our class valedictorian, and he went on to graduate with degrees from Dartmouth College, Oxford University, and Harvard Medical School. Be sure to check out our social media feed for some embarrassing photos of me in high school!

The teams at Broadreach and Access Mobile put together a short PDF containing more information about the approach and tools being used to combat HIV. Please take a moment to download it below.

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Today's Topics

  • John's shares the work they do at Broadreach, what he does there and how is it working in Africa
  • KP shares the accomplishments of Access Mobile since his last appearance on the show in episode 13
  • The impact of HIV on both a population and personal level
  • Myths and the current global statistics of HIV and how it is affecting underserved communities across the world and particularly in Africa
  • How social stigmas, local beliefs, and social determinants of health affect how people seek, access and manage their care
  • Addressing the social determinants of health in remote regions in Africa and what is the strategy that this partnership has set to implement
  • Combining remote and connected services to the patients to increase access and compliance with care pathways

Links and Resources Mentioned

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Dan Kendall

Dan Kendall


As an engineer and business leader, I've worked to develop, launch and scale innovative products and solutions that impact health and wellness. As an entrepreneur, I know firsthand what it takes to start a business, build a team, and compete in the global marketplace.

On Digital Health Today, I leverage my experiences to help great leaders and innovators tell their stories and connect to users, investors and other stakeholders.

Connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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