Okongo hosts 2018 National World AIDS Day

01 Dec 2018 14:00pm
OKONGO, 01 DEC (NAMPA) – Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Bernard Haufiku said tuberculosis (TB) is like a forgotten disease, yet it contributes significantly to AIDS-related deaths in the country.
Haufiku said this whilst officiating at the National Commemoration of World AIDS Day at Okongo village in the Ohangwena Region on Friday.
He emphasised the strengthening of TB treatment as the nation continues its fight against HIV.
Haufiku believes if Namibia employs the key interventions outlined in the country’s Strategic Framework for the HIV and AIDS response, the nation will reach its overall goal of reducing new HIV infections and AIDS-related mortality by 75 per cent by 2022 and eventually ending AIDS by 2030.
The National Strategic Framework on HIV and AIDS, Haufiku added, has strategic focus to ensure that adolescent girls and young women who are not infected with HIV remain negative and that those diagnosed with the virus are linked to care and treatment.
‘Know Your Status’ is the theme of this year’s global commemoration of World AIDS Day, aligned with ‘Empowering Girls and Young Women against HIV and Teenage Pregnancy’ as the Namibian theme.
“The theme reflects on the special focus the country places on reducing new HIV infections among girls and young women, teenage pregnancies, school dropout rates, sexual and gender-based violence (GBV) as well as to empower girls and young women to be able to stand up against GBV and early sexual debut,” the minister stated.
Haufiku pointed out that the World AIDS Day commemoration is held to remember mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, daughters, sons, relatives, colleagues and friends who have passed on as a result of AIDS.
Speaking at the same commemoration, United States Ambassador to Namibia, Lisa Johnson said this year Namibia made great progress towards achieving the United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) goals regarding testing and treatment.
Johnson told the audience that 86 per cent of people living with HIV in Namibia know their status and 96 per cent of those infected with HIV are on treatment.
“Most importantly, 91 per cent of those on treatment are virally suppressed, which means HIV is undetectable in their bodies,” Johnson explained, adding that when people take their medication consistently and successfully supress the virus, the risk of transmitting HIV is reduced to effectively zero.
However, the diplomat pointed out that it is estimated HIV still affects more than 200 000 Namibian women, men and children, which highlights the important role to be played by each Namibian in order for the country to reach total control of the epidemic.
World AIDS Day is commemorated annually on 01 December and this year is the 30th commemoration since its inception in 1988.