HIV prevalence now stands at 17 percent

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Support… Namibia Airports Company donated N$50 000 towards hosting the National AIDS Conference to be held in August at Swakopmund. In the photo are Acting Deputy Director: Multisectoral HIV Response in the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Julieth Karirao, NAC Marketing Assistant Jenny-lee Wilheikki and NAC Marketing Officer Dan Kamati.

Windhoek

The 2014 national HIV sentinel survey indicates that virus prevalence is highest among women aged 40 – 44 years at 30.6 percent, and women aged 35-39 years at 30.3 percent.

However, overall HIV prevalence in the country declined from 18.2 percent to 16.9 percent. About 215 000 people are living with HIV in Namibia and 131 103 currently receive antiretroviral therapy.

Revealing the statistics was the Acting Deputy Director: Multisectoral HIV Response at the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Julieth Karirao, who spoke on behalf of Deputy Health Minister, Juliet Kavetuna, during the launch of the 2016 Namibian National Aids Conference yesterday.

During the event Standard Bank, First National Bank and Namibia Airports Company donated a combined N$175 000 towards hosting the national conference to be held on August 15-17 at Swakopmund.

The primary aim of the conference will be to create an inclusive national strategic platform geared primarily at formulating consensus on the country’s position in relation to the response on the one hand, and the overarching challenges posing as impediments to ending HIV by 2030, on the other. The conference theme is ‘Turning the clock on AIDS.’

Kavetuna said the theme is relevant and appropriate in presenting a renewed call to all partners to increase investment and build resilient interventions that will accelerate collective efforts towards ending the pandemic.

“Ending HIV is within our reach, provided we work together in the true spirit of Harambee. I therefore call on the patriotic Namibian public and private sector to join our efforts to deliver the final blow on HIV once and for all. We need to build multi-faceted, multi-dimensional approaches to deliver concrete evidence-based interventions which can reclaim our society from the jaws of a resource-depleting disease,” urged Kavetuna.

Of the donations Standard Bank gave N$100 000. The Company Secretary and Head of Corporate Social Investment, Sigrid Tjijorokisa, said the Zambezi Region has the highest overall prevalence in the country at 23.7 percent and a disproportionate distribution of prevalence between women (30.9 percent) and men (15.9 percent) aged 15 – 49.

According to recent research, an estimated 73 percent of new infections in the age group 15-19 years is among young girls, while among boys it is 27 percent. In the age group 20 -24 years, girls account for 62 percent of new infections.

“As a socially responsible entity, Standard Bank considers it essential to assist in the upliftment and sustainable development of the communities we operate in. It is for this reason that Standard Bank pledges one percent profit after tax to corporate social investment initiatives,” said Tjijorokisa.

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