IGHS and Global Programs Office Play Key Role in National Survey Showing Namibia Is Near 90-90-90 Targets for HIV Control

When the Namibia Ministry of Health and Social Services (MOHSS) announced July 25 at the International AIDS Society (IAS) conference that the country had nearly reached the United Nations’ 90-90-90 target to help end the AIDS epidemic, researchers at UCSF’s Institute for Global Health Sciences shared in the country’s pride in the accomplishment.

In collaboration with MOHSS, the Centers for Disease Control and ICAP at Columbia University, IGHS faculty and staff based at UCSF’s Global Programs Office in Windhoek, Namibia, implemented the Namibia Population-Based HIV Impact Assessment (NAMPHIA), a cross-sectional household-based survey to assess the progress of Namibia’s national HIV response.

Conducted between June and December 2017 across all regions of the country, NAMPHIA offered participants HIV counseling and testing with return of results and active linkage to care for those who tested HIV positive. Interviewers collected information on risk behaviors and uptake of HIV prevention, care and treatment services. This was the first time such a survey was conducted in Namibia among those aged 0 to 64 years.

The UNAIDS and affected countries have set the HIV 90-90-90 targets by 2020: 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status; 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy (ART) and 90% of those receiving ART will have viral suppression.

NAMPHIA results show that the country’s HIV interventions have resulted in excellent progress toward the targets: 86% of 15-to 64-year-olds living with HIV know that they have HIV; 96% of those are on ART and 91% of those on ART are virally suppressed.

Approximately 185,000 people aged 0 to 64 in Namibia, including 9,000 children aged 0 to 14, are living with HIV.

“The NAMPHIA results provide the data to affirm the achievements we see at our clinics and health facilities, showing that Namibia is making real strides in controlling the HIV epidemic,” said Dr. Berhard S. Haufiku, Minister of Health, in a press release.

“This study was a major nationwide undertaking that definitively established the incidence and prevalence of HIV infection in Namibia, its epidemiology and the progress that has been made in achieving the World Health Organization’s 90-90-90 goals,” said George Rutherford, MD, director of Global Strategic Information at IGHS. “Namibia is one of the few countries worldwide who have reached the overall goal for viral suppression, which is the threshold needed for the eventual elimination of HIV.”