Namibia is one of the leading countries in the world in terms of demonstrating results towards reaching the UNAIDS 90–90–90 treatment targets .
According to UNAIDS 2018 estimates, 90% of people living with HIV in Namibia know their HIV status, 94% of them are on HIV treatment and of this 94%; 87% are virally supressed. There has also been a 24 % reduction in new HIV infections since 2010, from 9 800 to 7 400. The prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV programme reaches 95% of pregnant women living with HIV with treatment.
During her visit to Namibia to attend the Southern African Development Community’s Ministers of Health Meeting from 6–9 November 2018, Catherine Sozi, Director of the UNAIDS Regional Support Team for Eastern and Southern Africa, met with high-level Namibian leaders, including the First Lady, Monica Geingos and the Minister of Health, Bernhard Haufiku.
In discussions, Ms Sozi emphasised that political dialogue and leadership remain pivotal in the AIDS response to overcome remaining barriers. She encouraged Namibian leadership, together with the SADC Parliamentary Forum, to strengthen dialogue on sustainable financing for the AIDS response.
“To sustain and build on successes, Namibia must now focus on overcoming remaining barriers to access prevention services. This includes focusing on young people, especially girls; addressing legal barriers, especially for marginalised populations; promoting gender equality; and ensuring a sustainable and mutually-accountable multi-sectoral response that is not dependent on donor funding,” she said.
Agreeing with the need to build on and sustain current achievements, Mr Haufiku said that “the next step is the implementation of the HIV/AIDS Sustainability Framework for Epidemic Control”. He has been appointed a champion in this area as he works to bring partners together around the issue of Ending AIDS.
Just ahead of Ms Sozi’s country visit, Mrs Geingos received the World Without AIDS Award in Berlin, Germany. Mrs Sozi congratulated Mrs Geingos on her award and recognised her exceptional contribution toward Ending AIDS, both in Namibia and globally.
“The award is dedicated to the #BeFree Movement. The recognition is a timely reminder that genuine youth inclusion adds value in both policy formation and implementation,” said Mrs Geingos. The #BeFree movement was started by Mrs Geingos in 2016 and it focuses on engaging young people in AIDS response. “Young people the ones who will End AIDS. Let them lead,” added Mrs Geingos.