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Thousands HIV positive as World Aids Day beckons

by Kelvin Chiringa

Namibia will join the rest of the world in commemoration of the World Aids Day at a time when an estimated 217 000 of Namibians live with HIV and AIDS.

World AIDS Day commemorations will kick-start on the first of December this week and the day itself was founded in 1988 as the first ever global health day.

The Centre for Disease Control has indicated that 166 000 individuals who make up 76% of the infected people, are currently receiving antiretroviral therapy (ARV).

These statistics are indicative of the fact that Namibia is far from being done with the headache of high HIV and AIDS prevalence rates.

A health ministry survey which ended in 2016 shows that the overall national HIV prevalence among pregnant women receiving antenatal care (ANC) was 17.2%.

 The most recent sentinel survey organized by the ministry which ended around the same time has it that the areas with the highest HIV prevalence among pregnant women receiving ANC were Katima Mulilo (32.9%), Oshikuku (24.5%), Onandjokwe (22.6) and Otjiwarongo (22.5%).

Opuwo (5.2%), Windhoek Central (6.2%) and Tsumkwe (6.4%) are regarded a sites with the lowest HIV prevalence.

Data availed last year indicates that virus prevalence is highest among women aged 40 to 44 years at 30.6 percent, and women aged 35-39 years at 30.3 percent.

On the other side, the report shows that overall HIV prevalence in the country declined from 18.2 percent to 16.9 percent.  

 To complement the global World AIDS Day 2017 campaign which promotes the theme "Right to health", the World Health Organization this year highlighted the need for all 36.7 million people living with HIV and those who are vulnerable and affected by the epidemic, to reach the goal of universal health coverage.

Under the slogan "Everybody counts", WHO  advocated for access to safe, effective, quality and affordable medicines, including medicines, diagnostics and other health commodities as well as health care services for all people in need, while also ensuring that they are protected against financial risks.

In Namibia, HIV and AIDS was first recorded in 1986 when four people were diagnosed HIV positive