Western Cape Government Launches UNAIDS 90-90-90 Strategy

South Africa has adopted the new UNAIDS strategy aimed at bringing about an HIV free generation called the ’90 90 90’ strategy.

The Western Cape Government launched this strategy on the 1 December 2015 at the OR Tambo Hall, Mew Way, Khayelitsha.This strategy aims 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.

The ’90 90 90’ 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 aim with this inclusive strategy is that no one will be left out.The estimated number of people living with HIV in South Africa is 6.8 million. The most important step in the fight against HIV/Aids is to get tested. When diagnosed with HIV you can start important treatment to maintain your quality of life. Treatment as prevention for HIV has also been made part of combination HIV prevention. 

To achieve the aims of ’90 90 90′ most of the people living with the virus need to be put on treatment, the benefits of treatment as prevention can only be achieved if this has been done. For TB the increasing number of people who are infected will only be manageable if those who have been diagnosed with TB complete their treatment.

Youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health

A serious effort will be made towards providing youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services. One example of this is the new flavoured condoms of which the grape flavoured is currently available. The other flavoured male condoms will be launched during STI/Condom Week in February 2016 – strawberry, vanilla and banana will be added to the range of flavoured condoms on offer.  This is in direct response to the longstanding request for more appealing male condoms. 

These will be complimented by:

-The promotion of parenting skills training to strengthen families, 

-access to services for affected persons to tackle the stigma, gender based violence and human rights abuse that is experienced by affected people, 

-peer led outreaches to affected persons, 

-a stronger focus on the strengthening of community systems. 

This should lead to a combination of prevention packages that are co-determined by communities and government.

New Global Fund grant

The Western Cape Government applied to the Global Fund for a grant successfully and the Western Cape Department of Health will receive a 3 year grant of approximately $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 interventions in ‘hot spot’ areas or areas with the greatest need.

It will be the first time that co-determined community prevention interventions will receive exclusive funding. The Department of Health has been working on co-determined community interventions and 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.

HIV/Aids and TB performance for 2015-16 to date:

-The Western Cape Department of Health has distributed 58 509 559 male condoms and 1 810 559 female condoms throughout the province in the current financial year.

-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 number of medical male circumcisions performed in the Western Cape was 7 514 at end September 2015.

* This Article was published on the Western Cape Government Website