Eswatini surpasses UNAIDS Fast-track Targets for treatment and viral suppression
The Eswatini Kingdom Government and the President of U.S Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) announced the 2021 results of the Eswatini Population-based HIV Impact Assessment, which is known locally as "SHIMS3," which in turn demonstrated the sustained progress to the targets set for the 2025 ambitious UNAIDS 95-95-95.
SHIMS3 made it known that in Eswatini, 94% of people living with HIV that are 15 years and older know of their status, 97% of the people that are aware of what their status is are on antiretroviral therapy (ART), and 96% of the people on ART have attained viral suppression.
This, being compared to the 2016-2017 SHIMS2 result of 87-89-91, shows commendable progress regardless of threats of the COVID-19 pandemic. Men achieved 92-96-97 in SHIMS3, while women reached 95-95-95 targets at 95-98-96. An achievement like this indicates that epidemic control is within reach for all.
Generally, the SHIMS3 results show that Eswatini obtained great progress in the HIV epidemic control, and this demonstrates the impact of the national HIV response through the Eswatini kingdom Government's outstanding commitment to partners collaboration, including the U.S government (PEPFAR).
"As a country, we remain committed in our leadership and prioritisation of HIV prevention and treatment services. Our health sector staff and our people living with HIV have maximised the opportunities offered through our HIV programs," said Eswatini Minister of Health, Senator Lizzie Nkhosi. "All emaSwati are encouraged to continue accessing HIV testing services and antiretroviral therapy to maintain their health and protect their loved ones."
Aiming to confront one of the world's most severe HIV epidemics, Eswatini made use of data-driven approaches to increase the amount of persons getting HIV test by adopting "test and treat" for fast ART initiation for persons testing HIV-positive and improved national capacity for load testing in order to monitor the response to Antiretroviral therapy.
Eswatini, to secure further gains, implemented a six-month dispensation of ART and spread the distribution of health services and medication at community access points that are beyond health facilities.
It's the combined effect of these strategies that minimised treatment interruptions and supported great outcomes, with viral suppression inclusive.