Ahead of the SA AIDS Conference which take place from 11-14 June 2019, in Durban, Kwa Zulu Natal, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) wanted to take this opportunity to share a success story.
Findings from a follow-up survey of our community-based HIV/TB project in Eshowe, KwaZulu Natal, shows that the project has achieved the UNAIDS targets of 90-90-90 one year ahead of the 2020 deadline, with results of 90-94-95: 90% of people living with HIV know their status, 94% of those were on antiretroviral treatment and 95% of those had a suppressed viral load.
The results support MSF’s view that interventions at community level can successfully reach and directly support more people living with HIV who do not access conventional health services, which is key to getting ahead of the HIV epidemic.
The ‘Bending the Curves’ project, which started in 2011 before the 90-90-90 targets were set by UNAIDS in 2013, aimed to bend the curves of new HIV infections, and HIV-related illness and death. From the beginning, the project has worked closely with the district and provincial health departments, NGOs, PLHIV groups, traditional leaders and their communities
“We’ve shown that it’s possible to reach 90-90-90 in an area with one of the highest HIV infection rates in the country, where one in four people is living with HIV. These results are testament to the full engagement of the entire community. Everyone - from local civil society and patient groups, health staff and traditional health practitioners, traditional leaders and their members – was deeply involved in designing and helping this project to deliver from the beginning, said Dr Liesbet Ohler, Project Medical Referent, Eshowe. “Importantly, we have ensured 94% of people who tested HIV positive started treatment, including people who are much less likely to test for HIV and link to care, such as men.”
Despite the good news, the survey data shows that the fight against HIV/AIDS is not over. Key challenges remain; young men with HIV remain out of reach of the health system, while adolescent girls and young women remain at risk.