Namibia: More Than 210 000 Namibians On HIV Therapy

ABOUT 99% of the estimated 215 348 Namibians living with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are receiving HIV therapy, health minister Kalumbi Shangula has said.

Shangula said the latest HIV prevalence rate among adults aged 15 to 49 years is 11,8%, while an estimated

7 193 children under the age of 15 are living with HIV.

The minister said this on Saturday, during the announcement of Namibia's success in achieving targets set by the United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS.

Among the estimated number of people living with HIV in Namibia, 92% are aware of their HIV status, 99% are on antiretroviral therapy, and 94% are virally suppressed.

Seven regions of Namibia are reported to have higher HIV prevalence rates than others, with the Zambezi region leading at 21,6%, Oshikoto at 17,1%, Omusati at 15%, Kavango East and Kavango West both at 14,7%, Oshana at 14,5% and Ohangwena at 14,3%.

HIV prevalence is lowest in Kunene, with a rate of 7,1%, and Omaheke, at 7,3%.

"The number of HIV infections is disproportionately higher among females compared to their male counterparts," Shangula said.

"The prevalence is higher among women at 15,1%, compared to 8,4% among men," he said.

The minister said while Namibia has surpassed the UN organisation's second target of 95% and is close to achieving the first and third targets of 95% as well, the country's fight against HIV is not over.

He said new HIV infections among children, adolescents, young women and men, and key vulnerable and priority populations are still being recorded.

"Some of the known factors contributing to new HIV infections are limited access to preventive and treatment services, gender-based violence, unemployment among young people that is making them vulnerable to engaging in transactional sex, alcohol and drug abuse," Shangula said.

Therefore, he said, economic empowerment of the youth and women, substance abuse prevention and rehabilitation, expanding and decentralising HIV-AIDS services, and addressing gender-based violence are key to the country's national response.


With Namibia marking Zero Discrimination Day on Wednesday last week, justice minister Yvonne Dausab said more needs to be done to reduce stigma attached to people with HIV-AIDS.

Dausab said the stigma and discrimination that people with HIV face is often from their peers, family members, neighbours, healthcare providers, work colleagues and law enforcement officers.

Addressing stigma as a pervasive phenomenon may be achieved by adopting a legal framework that supports the equal treatment of HIV-positive persons and those living with AIDS, Dausab said.

"Fear of stigmatisation prevents many people with HIV or AIDS from taking action, whether legal or otherwise, to address the wrongs they have suffered as a result of HIV infection. The question that remains is how we can utilise the law as a tool to prevent further prejudice and enhance social justice for all," Dausab said.

She said legal routes or rights-based approaches must be explored rigorously, and added that despite the possibilities available to communities and a dire need for legal action little has been done to sufficiently explore the law's potential in fighting stigma and discrimination.

"By identifying trends of human rights violations in the community through investigation of the types of cases, this process could lead to test case litigation, in appropriate and other administrative tribunals if required," Dausab said.

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