The US government, through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, has earmarked US$90.4 million (over N$1.3 billion) for 2022 towards Namibia’s fight against HIV.
This increase from US$89 million contributed in 2021 aims to intensify the country’s efforts to reach epidemic control of HIV.
The US’s fiscal year started on 1 October 2021, and will conclude on 30 September 2022.
The funds will be used to address issues such as supporting girls to stay HIV free through the Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored and Safe (DREAMS) programme, providing quality of life to orphans and vulnerable children and adolescents living and affected with HIV, aiding the health ministry in amplifying the circumcision in males through voluntary medical male circumcision, and others.
“The DREAMS programme aims to prevent HIV infection in adolescents and young women aged 10 to 24 years. The programme will continue to grow in 2022, and will reach 80 000 adolescent girls and young women with HIV prevention interventions,” said US embassy chargé d’affaires Jess Long.
DREAMS operates in Katima Mulilo, Tsumeb, Omuthiya, Onandjokwe, Oshakati, Rundu, Andara, Nyangana and Windhoek. Over 75% of vulnerable adolescent girls and young women have completed the DREAMS programme in three districts.
The programme will also reach men and boys with referrals to voluntary male circumcision, and the use of the national training manual on gender norms and prevention of gender-based violence.
Long added that additional activities included in the 2022 investment are support for recency testing, which is a procedure that shows the healthcare worker how recently a person was infected with HIV.
“Namibia has made strides in the fight against HIV, and is a global leader in nearing epidemic control. PEPFAR supports several different interventions that will bring Namibia closer to epidemic control and strengthen Namibia’s healthcare system,” said Long.
Funding for 2022 will also support the health ministry to set up an SMS reminder service to send messages to anti-retroviral therapy (ART) patients when they need to collect their medicine.
The United States government has invested approximately US$1.6 billion in HIV programmes in Namibia since 2005.