This year’s World AIDS day theme is “Global solidarity, shared responsibility.”
For over 15 years, the United States and Namibia have been partners in health. The result of our partnership is that Namibia is a global leader in the fight against HIV!
Together with Namibia, we share a common interest in reaching and sustaining epidemic control. Currently in Namibia, 95 percent of people with HIV know their status. 96 percent of people with HIV who know their status are on treatment. And 95 percent of the people on treatment take their medications regularly and are “virally suppressed,” meaning the virus is not detectable and cannot be transmitted. But that is not enough.
With over a billion U.S. dollars invested in Namibia’s HIV response, we continue increasing our commitment to winning this fight, from $81M USD in 2020 to $89M in 2021.
I’ll give you just a few examples of what the United States and Namibia, working together, have achieved in the fight against HIV so far.
First, on prevention: Through the DREAMS program, we focus on at-risk girls and young women to keep them in school, economically- empowered, and HIV-free. DREAMS stands for Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-Free, Mentored, and Safe.
We also have introduced Pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP – a prevention method used to reduce the risk of getting HIV. PrEP is offered for all self-identifying high risk groups.
On HIV testing, we are using specific procedures that show how recently a person was infected with HIV, in order to identify hotspots quickly. This is called recency testing and helps the Ministry identify where transmission is happening and stop HIV infection hotspots from growing.
And on treatment – we have introduced innovative techniques to empower people to more easily get their anti-retroviral drugs (ART), such as multi-month dispensing and Community Adherence Groups.
We also have supported the Ministry in introducing TLC, the best HIV medication available in the world. TLD has fewer side effects and works faster to suppress HIV.
Our work with the Ministry of Health to address HIV includes a wide range of issues from cervical cancer screening to improving the supply chain for medicines.
The United States’ partnership in health with Namibia has contributed to the country becoming a global leader in combating HIV. Our commitment to Namibia is unwavering and we will reach HIV epidemic control, together, and soon.
Partnering with the Ministry of Health in Namibia, the United States and PEPFAR are continuing our ef forts in the fight against HIV. This battle is for all of us, and we are going to win. We are on the verge of epidemic control, and the United States will support Namibia to reach this goal.
I want to thank the Namibian government and Ministry of Health and Social Services for our continued strong partnership. On this commemoration of World AIDS Day, I commit once again to this partnership. Together, we will achieve an AIDS-free generation.