Country exceeds 90% target of HIV-positive Namibians knowing their status

12 March 2021 | Health

NAMPA

WINDHOEK



United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) country director Dr Alti Zwandor praised Namibia for achieving its 90% target of citizens living with HIV knowing their status two years before the due date.

Zwandor commended Namibia while presenting the Fast-Track Cities initiative when she paid a courtesy call on Windhoek Mayor, Job Amupanda.

The initiative was jointly started in Namibia by USAID and the International Association of Providers of HIV Care (IAPAC) in 2018.

Its goal is to provide essential technical support to 15 priority high-burden cities to accelerate their HIV responses towards achieving key Fast-Track targets and delivering on the commitments of the Paris Declaration of Fast-Track Cities: Ending the AIDS Epidemic which was launched in December 2014.

“Namibia is a success story when it comes to the 90-90-90 targets which were established under the Fast-Track Cities: Ending AIDS pandemic initiative; the country achieved its target in advance to the due date (2020) with 92%,” she said.

The 90-90-90 target aim's to achieve 90% of people living with HIV knowing their status by 2020, 90% of people who know their HIV-positive status on treatment, and 90% of people on antiretroviral treatment with suppressed viral loads.

Zwandor highlighted that Namibia nearly achieved a universal percentage of linkage to HIV treatment of 99.4% while the viral load suppression is at 94.5%.

Zwandor also praised Namibia for ensuring that there was no disruption to the treatment of people on antiretroviral drugs during the lockdown period on account of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.

Patients received multi-month medication for up to four to six months at once.

Despite this achievement, the country recorded about 6 900 new HIV infections last year, which she described as worrisome.

Zwandor stated that there is a huge gap between the national and the city level, noting that Windhoek did not achieve the set target of 90% in all three categories. The city recorded 85% of HIV positive residents who know their status, 89% linkage to treatment and suppression of 73%.

From his side, Amupanda said although the city is doing better than the country in terms of HIV infection prevention at 47%, it is still far from reaching the global target which is 75%.

“We are not managing the HIV prevention well as a city so we need to do more,” he said.

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