6 December 2012

Namibia: Windhoek Aims for Zero HIV Infections

THE City of Windhoek commemorated World AIDS Day yesterday in the Samora Machel Constituency where an HIV-positive woman gave testimony about living with the virus.

Menesia Ndemumana tested positive in 1997 and has been on ARV treatment for the past nine years.

Ndemumana advised people who test HIV positive to leave the virus in the building were they were tested.

“You have no reason to leave with it because you have no use for it,” said the 38-year-old who has been living with the virus for the past 15 years.

“If you forget to leave it in the testing room,” Ndeumana continued, “take it and carry it on your back where you can never see it but do not make the mistake of carrying it in your head.”

She believes one way to fight HIV-AIDS is to manage it. “Manage the virus and don’t let it manage you. Tell yourself you are a full Namibian who has been tested with the virus but it will not destroy me. This is not the end of the world.”

The municipality’s commemoration focused on reducing the number of new HIV infections to zero.

“The theme dictates the critical need to strengthen efforts towards getting to zero,” said Deputy Mayor Muesee Kazapua.

He said the municipality had collected donations to the value of N$30 000 in cash and kind.

“In addition, we fed more than 500 orphans and vulnerable children, older persons and people with disabilities through the just initiated Mayoral Charity Drive and other outreach activities as part of Christmas and 2012 World AIDS efforts,” he said.

Asked whether they are optimistic of reaching zero infections by 2016, the chief of health services at the municipality, Mary-Anne Kahitu, said the plan was drawn up to be in line with their business plan which ends in 2016.

She said they would try their best and if they had not achieved everything by 2016, they would continue from there in the following years.

Kazapua said the estimated HIV-AIDS prevalence for Namibia is 18.8 percent of the population, with about 22 new infections occurring every day. Windhoek has an estimated prevalence rate of about 15 percent, with 3,5 new infections per day.

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