By Amanda Xoagus – Windhoek, Namibia, Saturday, June 6, 2020.
Namibia’s President, Dr. Hage Geingob said, Thursday, June 4, 2020, during his state of the nation address in the capital, Windhoek that the country is on the verge of achieving total HIV/AIDs epidemic control, in line with the triple 90 goals.
“Our HIV response stands at 94:96:95. This means 94 percent of people who are HIV positive know their status; 96 percent are on ARV treatment, and 95 percent are virally suppressed,” Geingob said on Thursday.
The President said the prevention of mother to child transmission also yielded encouraging outcomes, whereby 97 percent of babies born to HIV-positive mothers are HIV-negative.
” The cooperation agreement between Namibia and the Government of the United States of America (USA), through PEPFAR continues to materially support HIV/AIDS management programmes, which has enabled us to achieve these gains,” Geingob explained.
The USA through its President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (Pepfar) last year committed nearly N$1.2 billion (U.S $82 million) for HIV programmes in Namibia.
The United Nations programme on HIV/AIDS in 2013 set the 90-90-90 goals to ensure that 90 percent of people who are HIV infected are diagnosed, 90 percent of those diagnosed be on antiretroviral treatment, and 90% of those who receive antiretrovirals be virally suppressed.
The strategy is an attempt to get the HIV epidemic under control and is based on the principle of universal testing and treating.
At the time, an estimated 36.7 million people were HIV positive across the globe. In line with this, the goals would mean that 33.2 million of these people should have been diagnosed, 29.5 million be on Antiretrovirals, and 26.9 million on viral suppression.
Namibia has been actively working toward this goal and its President reaped the positive result in addressing HIV/AIDS in the country.
Namibia was ranked fifth highest in the world in terms of its HIV burden, behind Swaziland, Lesotho, Botswana, and South Africa in 2018. Meanwhile at least 12.6 percent of the adult population is living with HIV.