The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Limpopo calls on MEC for Health Phophi Ramathuba and the Limpopo Department of Health to accelerate interventions in the province to achieve the UNAIDS 90-90-90 target as we commemorate World AIDS Day today.
The 90-90-90 target seeks to ensure that 90% of all people living with HIV know their status,90 % of all people with an HIV diagnosis are put on antiretroviral (ARV) treatment and 90% of all people on ARV treatment achieve viral suppression.
In Limpopo’s June 2019 statistics the province had almost 600 000 people living with HIV and was at 93-67-77 in terms of their performance in pursuit of the 90-90-90 target across the total population. Adult females in the province were at 94-71-80, Adult males at 91-59-74 and children at 78-60-54. The province’s districts performance in pursuit of the 90-90-90 target are as follows:
- Capricorn – 93-66-77
- Mopani – 93-71-80
- Sekhukhune- 93- 68-79
- Vhembe – 93-61-76
- Waterberg – 93-69-73
The Department should be commended for achieving the first 90% target across all districts and sub populations but it is clear that there is a growing number of adults and children who have been previously diagnosed, but are not on antiretroviral therapy (ART). This number will include people who had started ART and defaulted, as well as those who were never initiated.
The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown has restricted movement and provision of testing and treatment services in the province and has further compounded the problem of people defaulting on taking treatment. According to the June 2019 statistics in order to achieve 90-90-90 targets, Limpopo must increase the number of adult men on ART by 46 944, adult women by 55031 and children by 10435.
MEC Ramathuba and the Limpopo Department of Health need to focus on accelerating prevention strategies to reduce new HIV infections, accelerate initiation onto ART in the underperforming districts and sub populations, but must also aim to put measures in place to ensure that people continue the use of ART.
It is clear that Limpopo will not meet the 90-90-90 strategy by the end of 2020 as was targeted. Plenty of progress has been made but there is the need for the public, civil society and government to work closer together in pursuit of meeting the target.
As we commemorate World AIDS Day the DA encourages all citizens to get screened and tested for HIV and TB, always use a condom, avoid risky sexual behaviour and maintain a healthy lifestyle. In the event of an HIV-diagnosis we also encourage people to start treatment immediately and to stay on ARV treatment.
Issued by DA