Decrease in New HIV Cases

With new HIV infections on the decline the Ministry of Health and Social Services has attributed the positive trend to its efforts of increasing condom distribution across the country. For the 20132014 financial year, government spent close to N$20 million to procure 33 million condoms. Some 27.3 million of the procured condoms have already been distributed countrywide. The popular Smile condoms and femidoms (female condom) are distributed free of charge by government. “The HIV new infection rate is going down so that is proof that the people are using the condoms very well and I must say they are very popular amongst the youth,” said the ministry’s public relations officer, Ester Paulus.

In 1992 the overall HIV prevalence rate stood was 4.2 percent, while in 2002 it increased to 22.1 percent and in 2012 it dropped to 18.1 percent. Statistics provided to New Era by the health ministry, indicate that most of the condoms were distributed to the Ohangwena Region (4.6 million), Khomas Region (3.2 million) and Oshana Region 3.1 million condoms. Regions that received the least number of condoms are Hardap (421 600), Karas (752 160) and Kunene (915 960).

Statistics unveiled last month also indicate that the number of female condoms distributed last year increased by 100 000 from those distributed in 2011 to 2012. Also, 26.8 million male condoms were distributed last year out of the 33 million which government had procured. The 2012 National HIV Sentinel Survey measured an overall national HIV prevalence rate among pregnant women of 18.2 percent. “Overall, over 40 percent who tested positive for HIV during the 2012 survey were already on anti-retroviral treatment. This means that many HIV positive women, who are cognisant of their status fall pregnant,” said Paulus. She said many HIV-positive women fall pregnant, because they are aware that the state provides medicine that helps to prevent the transmission of HIV from mother to child. “There is nothing really the ministry can do in that regard, ours is mainly to educate them,” Paulus said about HIV positive women infecting their partners. There were no apparent differences between HIV positive women residing in rural areas and those in urban areas.

The overall HIV prevalence rate among women aged 15-24 in 2012 was 8.9 percent in 2012, down from 10.3 percent in 2010 and 14.2 in 2006.

Source : New Era