health

Feb. 9, 2022

LINEO MABEKEBEKE

3 min read

Care and support body targets HIV prevention

Care and support body targets HIV prevention

Story highlights

  • Programme addresses incidents of stigma and violence that place people at greater risk of HIV
  • EpiC project maintains epidemic control across continuum of HIV services for key populations affected by HIV

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THROUGH PACT Lesotho’s support, the Disabled and HIV/AIDS Organisation Lesotho (DHAOL) is implementing the Meeting Targets and Maintaining Epidemic Control (EpiC) project Country Operational Plan.

DHAOL is an organisation that provides comprehensive care and support to people affected and infected by HIV and persons with disabilities.

Thabo Mothibeli, DHAOL programmes director said the objective of the project was to implement activities and interventions that support HIV prevention, care and treatment services for men and transgender people residing or working in Maseru.

This includes testing for HIV status, linking those living with HIV to quality care, treatment and support; and reducing new infections through PrEP initiatives.

Mr Mothibeli said the programme addressed incidents of stigma and violence that placed people at greater risk of HIV.

He said the EpiC project maintained epidemic control across the continuum of HIV services for key populations affected by HIV.

The programme is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

The latter programme focuses on populations at risk in Lesotho and is led by FHI 360 in partnership with PACT.

PACT has worked for more than a decade in Lesotho to turn back the tide of HIV/AIDS and help those living with the virus to obtain testing and treatment while leading fulfilling lives without stigma or discrimination.

The USAID through the US PEPFAR is a committed partner to the Government of Lesotho and continues to make significant progress towards ending preventable deaths from HIV/AIDS with a drop in AIDS deaths from the height of the HIV epidemic in Lesotho.

Lesotho has earned rave reviews, reaching a significant milestone towards ending the HIV epidemic, having met the joint UNAIDS 90-90-90, with 90 percent of the population aware of their HIV status, 97 percent of those aware of their HIV status on treatment and 92 percent of those on treatment virally suppressed.

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Since the beginning of the epidemic, 79.3 million people have been infected with the HIV virus and 36.3 million people have died of HIV. Globally, 37.7 million people were living with HIV at the end of 2020.

Prevalence of HIV among adults aged between 15 and 59 in Lesotho is 25.6%: 30.4% among females and 20.8% among males. This corresponds to approximately 306 000 people living with HIV (PLHIV) aged from 15 to 59 in Lesotho.

Despite its small population, Lesotho has the second highest HIV prevalence in the world.

HIV prevalence is high among the general population in Lesotho, but particularly affects sex workers, men who have sex with men and women.

Testing and treatment coverage has dramatically improved in recent years, but poverty, gender inequality and HIV stigma and discrimination remain major barriers to HIV prevention in Lesotho.

One of the main challenges facing Lesotho is securing the funds needed to run its HIV programmes.

 

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