Alvine Kapitako WINDHOEK - The Ambassador of the United States of America to Namibia, Lisa Johnson, has congratulated the women of Namibia for having achieved the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) 90-90-90- targets two years ahead of the goal. Preliminary results from the Namibia Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (NAMPHIA) show women have already reached the 90-90-90 UNAIDS goal of testing 90 percent of people who are HIV positive, putting 90 percent of people who are HIV positive on treatment and that 90 percent of all people who are on treatment should be virally suppressed. Also, the NAMPHIA preliminary results show a 15.7 percent HIV prevalence among women compared to 9.3 among men. In fact, Namibian women between the ages of 20 and 24 are two to three times more likely to be HIV positive than men of the same age. “Yet, Namibian women are prevailing even though they are more likely to be HIV positive – they are also more likely to be tested, on treatment and virally suppressed,” said Johnson. The fact that HIV-positive Namibian women get and stay on treatment is a success story not just for individuals but the whole country, added Johnson. “It takes courage to take an HIV test. It takes commitment to stay on treatment and it takes a well-functioning healthcare system to provide services that allow people to stay on treatment,” the ambassador added. The excellent test and treatment results among women are also good for the children of Namibia, Johnson said. “If a woman is HIV positive, on treatment and stays on treatment, the risk of passing the virus to her child during pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding is extremely low,” said Johnson. Speaking at the launch of the NAMPHIA results last Thursday, Johnson highlighted that there are six new HIV infections among Namibian girls and women aged 15-24 every day. She said that even though men do not want to know their status, as indicated in the findings, there is a need to do whatever it takes to involve them. “This is not a problem unique to Namibia but I do believe that Namibia can find unique solutions,” added Johnson. Results show that overall Namibia is actually close to reaching the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets, which requires 90 percent of people who are HIV positive to be tested for HIV, to have 90 percent HIV positive people on treatment and to have 90 percent of HIV positive virally suppressed. For the general population, Namibia is at 86-96-91. Johnson warned that this achievement is not the end. “While Namibia should celebrate the results so far, we must not lose sight of the areas of concern. There are many disparities within the HIV epidemic in Namibia,” said Johnson. The US Government through the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has for the past 14 years partnered with the Ministry of Health and Social Services to fight HIV/AIDS. Johnson added that the US Government remains committed to helping Namibians maintain the progress that has been achieved.
New Era Reporter
2018-08-06 10:08:08 9 months ago