– The Namibian Ministry of Health and Social Services (MHSS) launched on Thursday the Undetectable equals Untransmittable (U=U) campaign aimed at preventing the further spread of HIV among young people.
Speaking at the launch in Windhoek, MHSS Deputy Minister Esther Muinjangue said the U=U awareness campaign is aimed at all adolescents and young people living with HIV, as well as those who are HIV negative.
“Namibia continues to prioritize the health of young people. We look forward to a brighter future for our youth, a future with fewer HIV infections and fewer AIDS-related deaths,” she said.
HIV treatment is safer and more effective than ever, especially now with the discovery and introduction of regimens based on dolutegravir, the most effective antiretroviral (ARV) drug for suppressing viral load, he said, adding that if adolescents and young people living with HIV know that their viral load is suppressed and that they cannot transmit the virus through sexual intercourse, then they will be encouraged to continue treatment.
However, people should be reminded that ARV drugs do not cure HIV infection or eliminate the virus from the body, but when taken as prescribed, they can stop the virus from multiplying, he said.
According to Muinjangue, ending AIDS takes concerted efforts by everyone, including young people, and this is just one of those efforts.
“Young people are the agents of change in the fight against HIV through their efforts to raise awareness and mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS and other social challenges such as gender-based violence and substance abuse among young people in Namibia. I hope the collaborative efforts employed here will help achieve the goals of the campaign and ensure that the messages reach as many young people as possible,” he said.
The most recent MHSS estimates show that 86% of people living with HIV, aged 15-64, know their HIV status, and of these, 96.4% receive ARV therapy and 91.3% % are virally suppressed and no longer spread HIV. ■