NAMIBIA YET TO ATTAIN UN’S 90-90-90 TARGETS TO SUPPRESS HIV

WINDHOEK-- Namibia's Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) has yet to attain the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) 90-90-90 Global Fast Track targets aimed at ensuring that HIV is suppressed by the year 2020.

The UNAIDS goal aims to ensure that 90 per cent of all people living with HIV know their status, that 90 per cent of that population receive sustained anti-retroviral (ARV) therapy and that 90 per cent of that population have a suppressed viral load.

The MoHSS Director of Special Programmes, Anne-Marie Nitschke, disclosed this at the launch of the revised National Guidelines on HIV Testing Services (HTS) here Wednesday.

"There is a gap between the targeted number and what the survey found so far and this is why the Ministry has decided to revise the guidelines, which will now target a greater population of men and young women,' she told the media on the sidelines of the event.'

According to her, only about 78 per cent (243,000) of the targeted 90 per cent of undiagnosed people know their HIV status so far, according to preliminary statistics from the Namibia population-based HIV Impact Assessment survey.

The statistics also indicated that Zambezi Region (Province) had the highest HIV prevalence rate with 23.5 per cent, followed by Omusati and the Kavango Regions with 17.4 and 17 per cent, respectively.

The HTS Guidelines review was necessitated by the programme's move from emergency response programming to a more sustainable and evidence-based one, whose main goal is also to ensure early identification of as many people as possible with HIV and effectively linking them to prevention, care and treatment services.

Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services Juliet Kavetuna said Ministry had committed to not only increasing testing coverage for the population, but also prioritised strategies and testing initiatives which will identify people living with undiagnosed HIV.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK