PEPFAR to fund more HIV programmes

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Alvine Kapitako

Windhoek-The US Ambassador to Namibia, Thomas Daughton, this week said the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) would programme additional funds directly for HIV prevention and treatment for adolescent girls and young women in Namibia.

“These additional resources will support evidence-based interventions that are more directly and immediately linked to reducing HIV acquisition by adolescent girls and young women,” said Daughton.

He further said the interventions would include post-violence care, optimized HIV testing services, PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) and effective, youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services.

“As PEPFAR works to support the Namibian government and civil society in reaching young people, we want to draw experiences from efforts in other countries. That’s why, last year we supported a team of experts from the Ministry of Health and Social Services and civil society groups to travel to South Africa to learn from some of the best practices implemented there to avert new HIV infections in adolescents and young women,” further stated Daughton.

“The team saw for themselves how the South African government has included the preventative use of antiretroviral drugs as one method to avert HIV infection among young people, especially those who are at substantial risk of acquiring the virus,” Daughton noted.

“We need to find ways to reach adolescent girls and young women with evidence-based prevention programmes. We need to ensure that young girls remain HIV negative through a holistic approach that includes helping them stay in school, educating them on the risks of HIV and how it is transmitted, and ultimately, empowering young women to make safe choices,” said Daughton.

He spoke at the Eastern and Southern Africa regional consultation on HIV prevention and sexual reproductive health and rights for adolescent girls and young women.
Professor Sheila Tlou, the UNAIDS (Eastern and Southern Africa) regional representative, who spoke at the same occasion, added that the Eastern and Southern Africa region is not doing well when it comes to preventing HIV.

“In terms of prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV we are all aware of the need for prevention. There should be no more new slogans and rhetoric. What we have is enough. We are going to work now,” said Tlou. The three-day meeting ends today.

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