THE HIV and AIDS Manager in the Ministry of Health, Dr Tapiwa Tarumbiswa has applauded Lesotho in its strides to bring the HVI/AIDS pandemic under control.
Sept. 6, 2022
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The country, he said has been able to reach the 90 90 90 target, which focuses on 90 percent of the population knowing their HIV status, 90 percent of people living with HIV being on antiretroviral (ARV) drugs and 90 percent of people living with HIV and on ARVs having their viral load suppressed.
Dr Tarumbiswa said the ministry with the assistance of its numerous health partners will soon release the Lesotho Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (LePHIA) report whose aim is to reflect on the progress made since 2017 when the project kicked off.
He said HIV prevalence amongst youth from the age of 15 and above contributes a total of 22.7 percent of the country’s population infected with the virus.
Young women, he said, are the most infected of all groups, adding that is an indication of a lot of work yet to be done in finding ways to prevent new infections among young women.
Makoae Mathaha from the Department of Research in the Ministry of Health said that was the second LePHIA survey conducted with the aim of estimating national HIV incidences, national and district level prevalence, viral load suppression and progress towards achievement of the UNAIDS 90-90-90.
He said HIV prevalence was marked higher among women at 27.4 percent than men at 17.8 percent, adding that at least one household has a member who is HIV positive.
At district level, Mr Mathaha said HIV prevalence ranges from 24 percent in Mafeteng to 18.8 percent in Butha-Buthe, adding that it is relatively lower in rural areas.
Lesotho is reported to be committed to ending AIDS by 2030 and in order to guide the country towards this goal and to build an enabling environment, the National HIV and AIDS Strategic Plan 2018/19 - 2022/23 was developed.
LePHIA 2020 was conducted in 9 665 households and included 16 468 participants aged 15 and above.
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The survey offered HIV counseling and testing with immediate return of results, HIV viral load testing and collected information about the uptake of HIV care and treatment services.
LePHIA 2020 provides evidence of the excellent achievements of Lesotho’s HIV programme.
It demonstrates that Lesotho has achieved the first of the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets and has exceeded the second and third 90 targets. These findings position the country well as it aims to achieve the revised and more ambitious UNAIDS targets of 95-95-95. - LeNA