“AIDS Free Generation by 2030”
A new strategy aimed at bringing about an HIV free generation called the ’90 90 90’ strategy was unveiled by UNAIDS and adopted by South Africa.
“Today we commemorate World Aids day and we are excited to launch the 90 90 90 strategy in the Western Cape. We are committed to achieve our goals of an Aids free generation by 2030. We would like to encourage those that do not know their HIV status, to get tested in order to prevent the spread of HIV/Aids. HIV/Aids is one of the biggest burdens of disease that plagues society. It is alarming to see that there is an increase among the young adults. This is a result of alcohol and drug abuse among young adults and risky sexual behaviour. It is thus of utmost importance to improve HIV preventive programmes for the youth. That is why we have identified this transversal PSG3 in order to address factors that might impact on behavioural modification amongst young adults. We want to encourage citizens to take responsibility for their health and wellbeing.” Said Minister Mbombo.
The aim of this strategy is to ensure that by 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their status, 90% of those eligible for treatment with Anti-retroviral treatment (ART) will be on sustained treatment and 90% of people on ART will have suppressed viral loads.
This strategy has also been adapted for TB, so that by 2020, 90% of vulnerable groups should have been screened for TB, 90% of people with TB should be diagnosed and started on treatment and 90% of those treated for TB should be cured. The concept behind this inclusive strategy is that ‘no one will be left out’. Key populations, including the youth, were singled out for special attention.
For many years South Africans have accepted the figure of 6.4 million people living with HIV as a good estimate. The idea of treatment as prevention for HIV has also been made part of combination HIV prevention. What the call of 90 90 90 means is that unless most of the people living with the virus are tested and put on treatment, the benefits of treatment as prevention will be lost. For TB the ever increasing pool of infection will not get any smaller unless those who need treatment are put on treatment – this means finding them first. Put simply, it means ‘going back to basics’.
A concerted effort will be made towards providing youth friendly sexual and reproductive health services. One example of this is the new scented condoms of which the grape scented is currently available. The other scented male condoms will be launched during STI/Condom Week in February 2016 – strawberry, vanilla and banana will be added to the range of scented condoms on offer. This is in direct response to the longstanding request for more appealing male condoms. These will be complimented by promotion of parenting skills training for strengthening families. Access to services for key populations will be another focus where stigma, gender based violence and human rights abuse have to be tackled. There is a call for peer led outreaches to key populations. The strengthening of community systems is another enabler that will be targeted. This should lead to combination prevention packages that are co-determined by communities and government.
New Global Fund grant
The Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal are the two provinces whose applications to the Global Fund have been successful. The Western Cape Department of Health will receive a three year grant of approximately USD 21 million (almost R300 million) and implementation will commence in April 2016. The main programmes to be implemented with this grant will be for girls and young women HIV prevention packages tailored to an identified community’s needs. It will be the first time that co-determined community prevention interventions will receive exclusive funding. The Department has been working on co-determined community interventions staff at both provincial and district levels have received training on community engagement methodologies.
All the above actions should put the province closer to reaching the 90 90 90 targets for both HIV and TB by 2020. This in turn should make it possible to attain the goal of an AIDS Free Generation by 2030.
Take Note: The 90 90 90 strategy will be launched on the 1 December at the OR Tambo Hall, Mew Way, Khayelitsha. The launch will be part of health screenings offered to the youth audience and this will be amplified via a two-hour live broadcast at the venue. Various activities have been planned on the day including a visit from Ajax Cape Town soccer stars to engage with the youth.
HIV/AIDS and TB performance for 2015-16 to date:
For this current financial year the Department has distributed 58 509 559 male condoms throughout the province 1 810 559 for female.
The Western Cape currently has 189 510 clients on ARV treatment. The number of clients tested for HIV is 627 655.
Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) rate to babies is at 0.8%. TB Client treatment success rate is 83.5%.
The Medical Male Circumcisions performed in the Western Cape is 7514 at end Sep 2015.