These milestones would not be achieved without continuous support from partners who provide technical, financial, and infrastructural support to ensure the delivery of quality HIV services. The Premier said Government will enhance its investments to the HIV response in-order to reach the ambitious goal of stopping new infections and AIDS related deaths as set in the vision of ending AIDS by year 2022- eight years before the global target.
Research shows that young people between the ages 15-24 are most affected by HIV / AIDS and a sizable number of them are girls reported to be falling pregnant which is a sign that they do not use protection. It is also imperative that our youth be consistently encouraged to use protective measures to prevent HIV infections. Prevention remains the Cornerstone of ending AIDS. We will not be able to treat ourselves out of the pandemic, only adopting appropriate behavior reduces the need for treatment.
Despite facing the world’s highest HIV prevalence, Eswatini has made the remarkable achievement of being the first African nation to surpass the UN 2030 target of 95–95–95. This means that in kingdom, 95% of people living with HIV have been diagnosed, 95% of those diagnosed are on treatment, and 95% of those on treatment are virally suppressed. Having reached this goal 10 years ahead of the target, Eswatini becomes the first African nation to achieve this feat.
In the context of COVID-19, HIV facility visits should be limited to those deemed medically essential, to reduce the risk and burden to recipients of care and health care providers. Some facilities may consider providing services for PLHIV and other chronic illnesses in the community to reduce risk of COVID-19 exposure and infection in health facilities, either using community health workers to deliver care or in makeshift clinics in the community.
We have not done this alone. The Kingdom has received support from our partners such as PEPFAR, Global Fund, UNAIDS and other development and bilateral partners. It is important that the AIDS response drive continues with the principle of Global Solidarity, Shared Responsibility.
It will be a compelling combination of virtual sessions and community networking, including exhibitions, workshops, the global village, satellites and pre-conferences, that will reach audiences around the world.
"As much as there is no conclusive evidence on the Coronavirus and HIV impact, we are concerned about those who are HIV positive on ART and those who are HIV positive but unaware of their sero status and those that are virally not suppressed”.
The statement reminds PLHIV to have their supply of their necessary medical supplies on hand, ideally for 30 days or more, especially because the WHO HIV Treatment Guidelines now recommend multi-months or more of HIV medicines for most people at routine visits.
HIV and AIDS continue to be “Indzaba Yetfu Sonkhe” so it needs all our concerted efforts. To instill the vision of ending AIDS by 2022 as a public health threat to all sectors, constituencies, organization and communities, there is need for a constant and consistent dialogue on what needs to be done to achieve Vision 2022.
Early this month, a SADC delegation visited Eswatini for a grant Pre-Award assessment at Limkokwing University of Technology (LUCT), who applied as Lead Implementer to the SADC Round III HIV and AIDS Fund for facilitating regional HIV and AIDS response and will work in collaboration with Botswana and Lesotho.