Windhoek — The HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in Khomas Region has dropped significantly, standing at 12 percent from 31 percent in 2000. The Khomas prevalence rate is lower than the national prevalence rate of 18.2 percent.
The Khomas Regional Council announced yesterday the results of the Khomas HIV Sero Sentinel Survey. Khomas Governor Laura McLeod-Katjirua attributed the reduction to the commitment, dedication, focus and consistency of the Khomas Regional AIDS Coordinating Committee's fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
"We are propelled by challenges on the ground which entail the rapid spread of the disease, high mortality rate and devastation of the family unit," said McLeod-Katjirua.
Dr Martin Odiit, the strategic information adviser at the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in Namibia, noted that one of the important methods for monitoring the national HIV/AIDS epidemic is the HIV antenatal care sentinel surveillance surveys which are conducted every two years in Namibia.
The sentinel survey showed a reduction in HIV prevalence among 15-24 year-olds in Katutura and Windhoek Central hospitals, which Odiit said is an indication that there is a reduction of new infections. It is also suggests that "prevention efforts addressing sexual transmission of HIV in the region are bearing fruit," Odiit said.
However, the overall prevalence among pregnant women is still high with approximately one in ten women living with HIV, noted Odiit.
"We should not be complacent by the favourable indicators but rather continue to increase our efforts to achieve the global commitments of universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support and halting as well as reversing the spread of HIV," he cautioned.
Last year's antenatal care sentinel surveillance survey revealed that the national HIV prevalence rate decreased slightly from 18.8 percent in 2010 to 18.2 percent.
In 2002, the national HIV prevalence rate was 22.0 percent, in 2003 it was 19.7 percent, while it increased in 2004 to 19.9 percent. In 2006 the national HIV prevalence rate was 19.9 percent, while in 2008 it was at 17.8 percent.