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This is how we stop HIV

This is how we stop HIV

By Lisa Johnson

US Ambassador to Namibia.

HIV/AIDS continues to interrupt young Namibians’ dreams and aspirations, and it must be stopped. Thankfully, Namibia is making progress, as shown by this year’s NAMPHIA survey results. Namibia is ever-closer to achieving an AIDS-free generation, and that’s worth celebrating this year on World AIDS Day. The NAMPHIA survey also showed us where the remaining gaps are: specifically, more men need to get tested for HIV. Many men are unaware that they are living with HIV, putting their health at risk while also leading to more infections in adolescent girls and young women, allowing the virus to spread.

Blesser-blessee relationships and sexual aggression by older men against younger women are driving much of the ongoing HIV transmission in Namibia. It’s time for that cycle to end. When an older man who is HIV positive has a relationship with a young woman, he may infect her with HIV. She then eventually may have a relationship with a young man of her own age, infecting him too. If he doesn’t get tested, he in turn can pass the virus on to other young women, continuing this vicious cycle. Getting tested and knowing your status is the first step in ending Namibia’s HIV transmission cycle.

President Geingob’s World AIDS Day video covered these themes as well. The message is out there – now I’m encouraging you to help share it. As you look ahead to the Festive Season – in the village, at the farm, on the coast, or in the city – please make HIV prevention part of your plans. Enjoy your time with family and friends, but take the opportunity to ask them if they know their HIV status. Tell people how easy it is to get tested, and that they can go to any clinic and contribute to the health of the Namibian nation.

The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief – known as PEPFAR – began its partnership with Namibia in 2004. Since that time, America has invested over U.S. one billion dollars in saving Namibian lives, and the number of people dying of HIV/AIDS each year has decreased more than 50% from 10,000 per year to less than 4,000. If more men would get tested for HIV and, if found to be positive, would start taking antiretroviral therapy (ART), we could save even more lives.

The NAMPHIA data illustrates that new HIV infections are higher in women than in men. Those most affected are adolescent girls and young women aged 20-24 years. Consequently, this year we launched the DREAMS program in Khomas, Oshikoto, and Zambezi regions. DREAMS aims to create ‘Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored and Safe’ adolescent girls and young women. DREAMS goes beyond the health sector, addressing the structural drivers that directly and indirectly increase girls’ HIV risk, including poverty, gender inequality, sexual violence, and lack of education. DREAMS aims to reduce new HIV infections by empowering adolescent girls and young women with social protection and safe spaces, education and economic skills, and access to family planning and reproductive health services.

PEPFAR’s partnership with the Ministry of Health and Social Services has achieved great progress in the fight against HIV. However, Namibia will only be fully successful if people know their status. Get tested yourself. Encourage others – especially men – to get tested as well. If someone tests positive for HIV, the treatment is free and available in every district, usually as a single pill each day. This treatment can suppress the virus and allow those who are HIV positive to live long and healthy lives. The treatment blocks the transmission of HIV from a pregnant or breastfeeding mother to her baby, and when it is successfully suppressing the virus, it decreases the chance of transmission between sexual partners to practically zero.

It all starts with testing: Know your status and if HIV positive, get on treatment. That is how we stop HIV.


 

About The Author

Guest Contributor

A Guest Contributor is any of a number of experts who contribute articles and columns under their own respective names. They are regarded as authorities in their disciplines, and their work is usually published with limited editing only. They may also contribute to other publications. - Ed.

Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia

Promotion

20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.