The HIV/Aids prevalence rate in Oshana Region has declined significantly, dropping from 34 percent in 1998 to 18 percent in 2014, while more than half of the circumcised target population in the region was also reached by 2014.
Former first lady Penehupifo Pohamba said yesterday that 4 534 men in Oshana (of the targeted population of 8 000) were circumcised by the end of 2014. The national goal is to circumcise 300 128 men by 2017 and each region has a target of 8 000 men per annum. Male circumcision is believed to reduce HIV-infections and transmission by at least 60 percent.
Pohamba made the revelations at the World Aids Day celebration in Oshana on Thursday. The former first lady encouraged men between the ages of 15 and 45 to get circumcised in the fight against HIV/Aids.
Similarly, Pohamba also appealed to the nation at large to ensure that men are circumcised in order to create a healthier nation. “We have to do better this year, mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, community leaders, politicians, business leaders, everyone in Oshana needs to take a role in ensuring that young and adult men who are not circumcised do get circumcised,” said Pohamba.
Governor of Oshana Region Clemens Kashuupulwa expressed his unhappiness that there are still new cases of infection recorded in the region, despite concerted efforts to reach all communities in the region. “Our effort looks like it is not recognised, but we will keep campaigning against HIV/Aids,” said Kashuupulwa. He further urged the public to refrain from discriminating against and stigmatising people living with HIV/Aids.
“By now, my expectation is that stigma and discrimination should find an end. It is against the law to discriminate against those living with HIV/Aids, whether at the workplace or in employment opportunities,” said Kashuupulwa. Instead he advised the public to accommodate people living with HIV/Aids in order to learn from their expertise on how to prevent and fight the disease.
Kashuupulwa also implored the youth to get tested, emphasising that determining one’s HIV/Aids results assists in making better and informed decisions and consequently can contribute to a healthy life.