Project HOPE Marks World AIDS Day by Highlighting Pioneering Program to Support Teens with HIV in Namibia
Millwood, VA (December 1, 2018) – Project HOPE is marking the 30th annual World AIDS Day by highlighting the need for HIV positive teens to properly follow lifesaving antiretroviral treatments (ARTs) – a goal at the center of one of the NGO’s pioneering programs in Namibia.
The program is built around teen clubs established by Project HOPE’s NARP program – the Namibia Adherence and Retention Program – funded by PEPFAR through USAID to improve HIV care and treatment.
“Many HIV-positive teens in Namibia don’t fully understand why they must take their ARTs, so ‘disclosure’ is an important component of the club. Most of the teens have been HIV positive since birth so taking the medication has become routine in their lives. But their parents often don’t explain why the treatment is so essential,” said Anatolia Amesho, a Community Health Worker trained by Project HOPE.
Teen club leaders say parents can be reluctant to be open with HIV-positive kids about the need for proper treatment for many reasons, including feelings of guilt that they transmitted the virus to their children; a desire to protect their children from the stigma that the diagnosis brings; or just a basic inadequacy of communication skills.
“Whatever the reason, it is the responsibility of the teen club leaders to convey why it is absolutely vital that the teens strictly adhere to the ART regimen,” said Amesho.
HIV/AIDS remains one of the greatest development challenges for Namibia, with 14 percent of 15- to 49-year-olds (214,956 people) living with HIV. An estimated 2.6 percent of children under 15 years of age are HIV positive.
This December 1 marks the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day, which originated at the 1988 World Summit of Ministers of Health on Programs for AIDS Prevention. Since then, the United Nations agencies, governments and civil society join to campaign around specific annual themes related to AIDS.
The theme for World AIDS Day 2018 is “Know your (HIV) status.”
NARP is just one of many HIV-related programs that Project HOPE is involved in implementing. Community-based HIV prevention, testing and treatment programs in Malawi, Nigeria, Namibia and Ethiopia are aimed at working toward UNAIDS’ ambitious 90-90-90 treatment target. The target states that by 2020, 90 percent of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status; 90 percent of all people living with HIV will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy; and 90 percent of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have durable viral suppression.
Project HOPE’s HIV programming began in the late 1980s in Swaziland and Malawi, where HOPE introduded HIV Testing and Counseling (HTC) and integrated HIV services into communities and the health care system.
Primarily focused in Africa, HOPE’s HIV programs have also reached countries in Europe and Eurasia, Southeastern Asia and Latin America. HIV program partnerships have included USAID, Global Fund and other public and private organizations.
About Project HOPE
Founded in 1958, Project HOPE is a leader in global health and humanitarian relief programs. An international non-profit organization, we are committed to transforming lives and uplifting communities by empowering health care workers to teach and deliver innovative, lifesaving solutions, every day and in times of crisis. With programs in 25 countries, we work at the epicenter of today’s greatest health challenges including infectious and noncommunicable diseases; disasters and health crises; maternal, neonatal and child health; and the policies that impact how health care is delivered. Learn more at www.projecthope.org.