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MoHSS population survey to fight HIV

WINDHOEK, 19 APR (NAMPA) – The Ministry of Health and Social Service will conduct the first ever Namibia Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (NamPHIA) survey.
The NamPHIA survey aims to obtain practical incidence, prevalence and related data on the HIV epidemic in the country.
At the launch here on Wednesday, Minister Bernard Haufiku said the survey will assess the impact that previous collective interventions have had on HIV in Namibia.
It will also evaluate the treatment response that has been implemented to-date.
The household based survey will cover approximately 12 000 randomly selected households countrywide.
Haufiku explained that the survey will target about 26 000 people, including infants and children, and participation will be voluntary.
“It will help better understand the epidemic in Namibia and identify where to focus our effort more to concentrate on the quest to intercept transmission and ultimately end the epidemic.”
He noted that the survey will help those participating in it to learn about their current health status through testing as they will receive counselling and will be referred for clinical care.
“This survey is completely confidential, no disclosure to third party and no revelations. We need to know exactly how HIV is affecting Namibia at the level of individual Namibians,” said Haufiku.
US Ambassador to Namibia, Thomas Daughton said there are still things about the epidemic not known that need be known.
He explained that Namibia’s response to the HIV epidemic had always been data driven through tools such as the biennial HIV Sentinel Survey of pregnant women and the periodic Demographic and Health Survey (DHS), which both provide valuable programming information.
“We still need more information to cross the last gap between where we are and fully achieving the 90/90/90 target which is an ambitious treatment target to help end the AIDS epidemic,” said Daughton.
Data collection will start on 08 May for a period of six months and the final results are expected in 2018.
Namibia is the 13th country to implement a population HIV survey.
According to the 2013 Sentinel Survey and the DHS, about 80 per cent of people living with HIV in Namibia know their HIV status, while 75 per cent to 80 per cent of people living with HIV are currently on antiretroviral treatment.
Eighty seven per cent of people on treatment are virally suppressed.

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