Windhoek – To continue increasing access to HIV services for all people in Namibia, the U.S. Embassy in Namibia has supported the opening of two HIV testing facilities in cooperation with the Namibian Correctional Service.
Working through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Namibia (CDC Namibia) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Social Services, the Embassy has partnered with the Namibian Correctional Service to establish HIV testing sites at the Gobabis and Omaruru Correctional Facilities.
These testing sites will make it easier for inmates to voluntarily test for HIV. Previously, inmates needed to go to a local clinic for HIV testing. HIV testing facilities at the Correctional Facilities will reduce delays in testing and linkage to HIV prevention and treatment services. It is another step towards providing the necessary resources to find the remaining people in Namibia who are HIV-positive but do not know their status.
Due to the closed setting of Correctional Facilities, incarcerated populations are at particular risk of COVID-19 infection. The new HIV testing services have an added benefit of reducing exposure of inmates to COVID-19 infection from the community.
“Through this case finding, America continues to be a partner in health with Namibia to halt ongoing HIV transmission through identifying HIV transmission hotspots and providing targeted testing and prevention,” said U.S. Ambassador to Namibia Lisa Johnson.
Funding for these activities, which is provided by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), will enable the Namibian Correctional Service and the Namibian Police Force (NAMPOL) to help end HIV transmission and strengthen HIV care among people in correctional facilities.
CDC Namibia also has provided computers, air conditioners, fridges, medicine cabinets, and other related equipment to the Namibian Correctional Service and NAMPOL. CDC Namibia funding also supports the Correctional Service health workforce through training in national treatment guidelines, continuous quality improvement, and site supportive supervision.
In 2021, PEPFAR is providing USD$89 million funding to support Namibia’s HIV prevention, care and treatment program. Since the beginning of PEPFAR, the U.S. government has invested nearly $1.6 billion USD in HIV programming in Namibia.
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