//Karas records decline in HIV infections and deaths

11 Dec 2013 16:50pm
KEETMANSHOOP, 11 DEC (NAMPA) - The number of people testing positive for HIV/AIDS in the //Karas Region has been declining since 2006.
The region also recorded a decline in HIV/AIDS-related deaths.
Statistics issued by the Acting Health Director for //Karas, Dr Job Ndile during the Women’s Action for Development (WAD) graduation ceremony here on Wednesday indicate that deaths due to AIDS had reduced from 50 or 60 a year to only 20 over the past two years.
Ndile said in 2006, 350 people in //Karas were tested for HIV, and 41 per cent of them tested positive, while in 2007, 697 were tested and 19 per cent tested positive.
In 2008, 1 224 residents were tested, with 25 per cent returning HIV-positive results; while in 2009, 1 430 people were tested, from which 21 per cent tested positive for HIV.
The decline continued in 2010 when 1 585 residents showed up for HIV testing, and only 12 per cent tested positive.
In 2011, 2 760 were tested, and 11 per cent tested positive for the virus.
Last year, 2 650 residents were tested, from which only 10 per cent were HIV positive.
“By testing and counselling and putting them into care, hospital deaths have declined dramatically,” the doctor stated.
He added that so far this year, 7 477 people across the region tested positive, and 65 per cent are already on medication.
“We have noticed that people are not too sick and not dying of the pandemic anymore because of the treatment interventions. We, therefore, encourage testing and counselling so that we can bring the infections to zero.
There is still a lot to be done to achieve zero infections, but it is possible if we work together,” said Ndile.
He then used the opportunity to call upon all residents of the //Karas Region to be safe from HIV, and urged especially men to accompany their partners for testing as this will help them get timely medical advice and treatment.
Ndile further stated that health facilities are accessible across the region. Help is thus available to anyone, regardless of where they live.
“Wherever you are, we can assist you. So, we will not fail you, and please do not fail us,” he pleaded.
Meanwhile, the 2013 WAD graduation ceremony for //Karas witnessed 300 unemployed women and men receiving certificates in courses such as Computer Literacy, Office Administration and Tailoring.
Since its establishment here in 2007, the WAD centre has trained a total of 1 500 unemployed people.
Most of these graduates are now employed, while others have started their own small businesses.