US pledges US46 million to fight HIV
Early last week, U.S. Ambassador Daughton announced that the United States will pledge US$46 million (approx. N$640 million) to fight HIV and AIDS in Namibia over the next year as part of its continued bilateral commitment in the health sector.
In addition to that, the United States is mobilizing US$34 million (approx. N$ 475 million) over the next two years to accelerate the delivery of HIV treatment services in areas with the highest prevalence and the greatest need.
Funding is made possible through the United States’ President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The announcement coincides with the Ministry’s launch of the HIV Combination Prevention Strategy. Some of the cornerstones of this important strategy include free and confidential HIV counselling and testing, free anti-retroviral therapy (ART) for each individual living with HIV, and free voluntary medical male circumcision to prevent the spread of the virus.
“The goal of an AIDS-free generation worldwide was first envisioned by U.S. President George W. Bush, whose bold proposal in 2003 created the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR. PEPFAR began working in Namibia in 2004. Since then the U.S. government has contributed US$1.1 billion – more than N$15 billion at today’s exchange rate – through PEPFAR to help Namibia realize an AIDS-free generation,” said the Ambassador.
Ambassaador Daughton highlighted that with U.S. support, Namibia cut in half its HIV infection rate since 2004 and has seen life expectancy rise from 56 years in 2005 to 64 years in 2012, according to the World Bank. Most significantly, today the majority of Namibians know their HIV status and more than 60 percent of all people living with HIV had accessed anti-retroviral therapy by the end of 2014, prolonging their lives and preventing the spread of the disease to their partners.
“I want to encourage each of you to think about what you can do individually and what we can do together to make the dream of ‘Zero new HIV infections, Zero Discrimination, and Zero AIDS-related deaths’ a reality in Namibia. Working together, we can do it!” concluded the Ambassador.