Namibia ventures into effective HIV prevention strategies

NAMIBIA – Namibia’s Ministry of Health and Social Services has received over 6.9 million condoms and 2.6 million lubricants from the United to address supply shortages as condoms continue to be a health sector priority for preventing the spread of HIV.

The reproductive health commodities worth US$275,000 (approx. N$4.3 million) will be distributed to 273 hotspots and 14 pick-up points mainly targeting Key Populations (KPs) that are not yet supplied by the Ministry of Health towards the overall fight against HIV/AIDS.

The health ministry will target female sex workers, men who have sex with men and transgender people who are particularly vulnerable and disproportionately affected by HIV due to high-risk behaviors, marginalization, stigma, discrimination, violence and criminalization which contribute to a lack of access to health services.

The commodities will support 75 facilities in and around Windhoek, Keetmanshoop, Gobabis, Otjiwarongo, Oshakati, Oshikango, Walvis Bay, Swakopmund, Rundu, and Katima Mulilo. In addition to providing condoms, KP-STAR is the only project that distributes lubricants to Key Populations in Namibia.

The condoms and lubricants were procured with funding from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through its Global Health Supply Chain Program.

In addition, there has been notable advancement in the development and deployment of ARV treatment and other HIV services in Namibia which has greatly contributed to the significant progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

During the handover event of condoms and lubricants in Windhoek, Executive Director Ben Nangombe of the Namibian Ministry of Health and Social Services revealed that Namibia is close to meeting global 95-95-95 targets.

The health official said that the health ministry’s program shows that 92 percent of people living with HIV know their status, 99 percent are on treatment, and 93 percent of those receiving treatment are virally suppressed.

He further revealed that despite Namibia being on track to reach the 95-95-95 Targets by 2030, there are gaps that in HIV/AIDs control such as HIV testing among key populations and young people that still require attention.

The 95-95-95 targets are the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) launched to diagnose 95 percent of all HIV-positive individuals, provide antiretroviral therapy (ART) for 95 percent of those diagnosed and achieve viral suppression for 95 percent of those treated by 2030.

Meanwhile, the US Government funded DREAMS program and the Ministry of Health and Social Services launched new public awareness materials encouraging young women at risk of contracting HIV to take Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis medication as it reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by 90%.

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