STARTLING revelations on the HIV statistics from the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) indicate that nearly 4 000 Namibians will die as a result of the various conditions brought on by infection in 2019.
It is further reported that HIV is the leading cause of death among Namibian adults for over a decade. According to PEPFAR Country Coordinator in Namibia Carey Spear, by September this year, about 204 000 HIV infected Namibians will be on antiretroviral therapy (ART).
Spear maintained that currently, 12.6 percent of the adult population in the country is living with HIV.
According to Spear prison inmates form part of the vulnerable groups at risk of contracting the virus. She singled out prisoners as being sexually isolated and not well accounted for in the health system with regards to testing and treatment.
“Important program activities such as supply chain will ensure that inmates and mineworkers who are usually away from their families are taken care of in terms of commodity security and an uninterrupted delivery of HIV related services,” she said.
The US Ambassador, Lisa Johnson on her part applauded Namibia for its success in addressing the HIV epidemic. She said that the United States funding in HIV programming this year alone is valued at US$72 million.
“PEPFAR will continue to use the latest data and science to direct resources where the burden of the HIV epidemic is largest, the need is highest and the dollars are most efficiently used,” Johnson said.
Other programs supported by PEPFAR include cervical cancer screening and voluntary male circumcision.