New data was released at the July 2018, International AIDS Conference demonstrating the HIV epidemic is coming under control in Namibia.
Results from the Namibia Population-based HIV Impact Assessment show that 77 percent of all HIV-positive adults have achieved viral load suppression, a widely used measure of effective HIV treatment in a population. This surpasses the UN’s target of 73 percent by 2020. Compared with the UNAIDS 2012 estimates, Namibia has reduced its adult HIV incidence rate by 50 percent in the past five years.
Namibia has made this tremendous progress through the expansion of HIV prevention and treatment services, with a focus on viral load suppression at the individual and community level, and the swift implementation of forward-leading HIV policies.
Women ages 15-24 still have a far higher HIV incidence rate than same-aged young men in Namibia. This highlights the continued need for expanded primary HIV prevention in young women and ensuring all HIV-infected men, particularly those ages 25-35, receive lifesaving treatment and are virally suppressed.
“These exciting new data demonstrate that a community-centered approach results in high community viral suppression, which decreases the rates of new HIV infections,” said Ambassador Deborah Birx, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy.
She said, “Several African countries are now on track to reach HIV epidemic control by 2020, accelerated progress that was only possible because of partner country political leadership and their rapid adoption of policies focusing primary prevention and treatment resources for maximum impact.”
Centers for Disease Control Director Robert Redfield said, “CDC continues to support Namibia’s efforts to control its HIV epidemic – and we remain committed to global efforts to change the course of the HIV pandemic and help save lives.”
The Population-based HIV Impact Assessments are funded by the U.S. government, through PEPFAR, and conducted by the CDC, ICAP at Columbia University, and local governmental and non-governmental partners. With PEPFAR support, four additional countries – Ethiopia, Haiti, Kenya, and Rwanda – will release HIV data on a rolling basis through 2019, providing an ability to chart and validate further progress toward reaching epidemic control by 2020.
“Together,” said Dr. Birx, “we are making the impossible possible, moving farther and faster toward ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.”