Thank you for joining this important media briefing today. I appreciate your interest in the work that the United States undertakes jointly with Namibia. We
are strong partners in health.
The United States President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) began its work in Namibia in 2005. We have been here for 15 years and we are not
The media plays an important role informing and educating the public, which is critical to winning the fight against HIV. Thank you for all you have done
to keep the public well-informed, on both COVID-19 and HIV/AIDS. I encourage you to keep it up.
Namibia is a global leader in nearing epidemic control. 95 percent of people with HIV know their status. 95 percent of people with HIV who know
their status are on treatment. And 92 percent of the people on treatment take their medications regularly and are “virally suppressed, ” meaning the virus is not detectable and cannot be transmitted. Undetectable = Untransmittable.
Those are high numbers, but we can’t stop now. We are working together to get them even higher so that we can proudly say: Namibia has achieved HIV
For 2021, we will increase our PEPFAR funding for Namibia from $81M USD to $89M USD. Since the beginning of PEPFAR, the U.S. government has invested nearly $1.6 billion USD in HIV programming in Namibia.
In this $89M USD for 2021, we are doubling our investment for adolescent girls and young women through the DREAMS program to $20M USD to keep them free from HIV. DREAMS, which stands for Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDs Free, Mentored and Safe, will also increase in geographic scope, expanding from five districts to nine.
In 2021, we will use specific testing procedures that show us how recently a person was infected with HIV in order to identify hotspots quickly. This is called recency testing. PEPFAR will use recency testing to mobilize where transmission is happening and work to stop hotspots from growing.
Over the next year, we also will use innovative technology to empower people to more easily get their anti-retroviral drugs (ART). Pele boxes – code secured lockers – will be installed in five high volume health facilities and will allow patients to pick up their ART’s in under two minutes, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This new technology will also decongest clinics, which is very important, especially while we live with COVID-19.
In short, in 2021 we are redoubling our efforts in the fight against HIV. The HIV fight is for all of us. I want to thank the Namibian government and Ministry
of Health and Social Services for our continued strong partnership. Together we will reach HIV epidemic control.