By Maria Kandjungu
NAMIBIA has recorded significant strides in combating the spread of HIV epidemic, the Health Minister, Dr Bernard Haufiku announced recently.
Dr Haufiku was reacting to survey results by the Namibia Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (NAMPHIA), which according to him shows how effective the country’s HIV prevention and treatment programmes were.
According to the findings, Namibia is close to reaching the 90:90:90 targets, which seek to diagnose 90 percent of all HIV-positive persons, provide antiretroviral therapy (ART) for 90 percent of those diagnosed, and achieve viral suppression for 90 percent of those treated by 2020.
The results of the survey show that the country is currently at 89:96:91, which further indicate that the overall viral suppression is higher than the international targets for all adults.
When analysed by sex, women have already reached the 90:90:90 targets, meaning that though women are more likely to contract HIV than men; women who do have HIV are also more likely to be tested, on treatment and virally suppressed.
This is said to be good for women’s health, as well as the well-being of children born to HIV positive mothers.
Furthermore, HIV prevalence in adults aged 15-64 stands at 12.6 percent while also showing disparities by sex, with 15.7 percent among women compared to 9.3 percent among men.
The results also show that incidences of new HIV infections in Namibia adult population has dropped by half of the estimate from just five years ago.
“The NAMPHIA results provide the date to affirm the achievements we see at our clinics and health facilities. I thank the entire healthcare providers who have helped make these a reality,” said Haufiku.
Also commenting on the findings, U.S. Ambassador to Namibia, Lisa Johnson said: “These achievements are truly outstanding, and I congratulate the Ministry of Health and Services for its commitment in providing the necessary resources and services to reach this goal.”
“For the past 14 years PEPFAR has partnered with the ministry to fight HIV/AIDS, and we remain committed to helping Namibia maintain the progress achieved.
“PEPFAR’s attention now includes focusing on identifying and helping those people not yet reached, such as men who have not yet been tested, as well as young women, who disproportionately bear the burden of new HIV infections.”
The household survey was conducted during June to December 2017 through out all 14 regions in the country. NAMPHIA offered participants HIV counselling and testing resulting in those who tested positive directly referred to treatment.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015