The Government of Ethiopia has made tremendous progress in fighting the HIV epidemic in Ethiopia. In 2015 Ethiopia adopted what is known as the UNAIDS “90-90-90” targets. It is one in which 90 percent of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status, 90 percent of all people living with HIV will receive antiretroviral treatment, and 90 percent of all people receiving this treatment will have viral suppression. These ambitious targets have the potential to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.
With the goal of achieving the 90-90-90 targets, the Federal Ministry of Health or MoH, plans to test 13.9 million people over the next year. With full support of the development partners, the MoH is launching a “Catch-up Campaign” for HIV testing on Tuesday, July 26th and will test approximately 6 million people over the next three months.
The “Catch-up Campaign” is a significant intervention to reach people who are living with HIV in Ethiopia but don’t know it and to provide them with life-saving treatment. The U.S. Government, UNAIDS, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria are working closely with the Federal Ministry of Health to provide technical support to ensure the successful implementation of the “Catch-up Campaign”.
The MOH has also endorsed “Test and Start,” where people living with HIV are given the opportunity to immediately initiate antiretroviral treatment regardless of what stage of the disease they are in when diagnosed.
Currently, all children and adolescents under 15 years old, pregnant women, couples where one partner is HIV-positive, TB/HIV co-infected patients, and commercial sex workers are eligible for immediate treatment under “Test and Start,” while the Government of Ethiopia works towards rolling out a strategy to all clients who test positive.
The U.S. Government, also endorsing “Test and Start,” is focusing its efforts to reach the most affected populations where they live and has therefore selected 20 high-priority towns to implement intensive program interventions to achieve optimal ART saturation.
With targeted testing and quality test kits, the “Catch-up Campaign” and “Test and Start” initiatives will ensure more HIV positive patients have timely access to life-saving HIV treatment and put Ethiopia on a firm path to its 90-90-90 goals.
The United States is proud to work with Ethiopia and its international partners to protect the people of Ethiopia from the deadly threat of HIV/AIDS.