N$1.53 billion for HIV battle

Pepfar will also support Namibia's health ministry to keep over 200 000 people living with HIV on treatment, most of whom will be eligible to take the advanced TLD medication.

01 October 2020 | Local News

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK



The United States embassy in Namibia has announced that the US President's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar) will contribute US$89 million (about N$1.53 billion) to Namibia in 2021 to fight HIV/Aids.

This is an increase from the US$81 million (N$1.39 billion) the programme provided this year.

According to a statement issued by the embassy, this will move US and Namibian efforts closer towards reaching “HIV epidemic control”.

“Namibia is a global leader in nearing epidemic control. A total of 95% of people with HIV know their status, while 95% of people with HIV who know their status are on treatment. And 92% of the people on treatment take their medication regularly and are virally suppressed,” US ambassador Lisa Johnson said.

She explained that “virally suppressed” means the virus is not detectable and cannot be transmitted.



DREAMS programme

The Pepfar funding for 2021, which starts with the US fiscal year today, will support Namibia's health ministry to increase those percentages, with a goal of reaching 95% in all the above-mentioned categories.

The funding will support, amongst others, the Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-Free, Mentored and Safe (DREAMS) programme, by doubling its budget and tripling the number of adolescent girls and young women it works with to keep them free from HIV.

Furthermore, advanced HIV testing techniques (index testing and recency testing) will uncover hotspots of HIV transmission and allow the health ministry to offer treatment to newly discovered patients to halt onward transmission.



TLD treatment

Pepfar will also support the ministry to keep over 200 000 people living with HIV on treatment, most of whom will be eligible to take the advanced tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, lamivudine and dolutegravir (TLD) medication.

TLD is a three-in-one, fixed-dose combination antiretroviral and has fewer side-effects, works faster to suppress HIV and is less likely to develop resistance than other medications.

The US government has invested approximately US$1.6 billion (N$27.4 billion) in HIV treatment and prevention in Namibia since 2005.

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