Response to the HIV and AIDS epidemic

Project description

Title: Multi-sectoral HIV and AIDS control in Namibia
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Namibia
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Health and Social Services
Overall term: 2005 to 2016

Namibia. Interessenvertreter aus Kommunal- und Landesregierung, Privatwirtschaft, Ministerien sowie traditionelle Stammesführer erarbeiten gemeinsam eine HIV-Strategie. Bild: Ralf Bäcker, version-foto

Up until a few years ago, HIV prevalence in Namibia was steadily increasing. In the meantime, the rate of infection has levelled off. Nonetheless, Namibia still has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates worldwide. According to UNAIDS, some 13.3 per cent of the population had the virus in 2012, with around 40 per cent of all new infections in the 15-24 age-group. Many people are unaware they have contracted the virus as they do not undergo routine voluntary screening. Furthermore, people are not making sufficient use of HIV prevention measures due to a lack of services catering to specific target-groups.

To align its prevention measures with HIV causes and target groups, Namibia launched a National HIV and AIDS Strategy in 2010 which it has been pursuing ever since. A recommendation issued in 2013 advocated a stronger orientation to the most common transmission risks and to the most vulnerable population groups, in particular young men and women. Other key target groups include mobile populations (such as transport drivers and agricultural workers) and people living with HIV (PLWH).

Selected population groups make better use of HIV prevention measures.

The project focuses on the following target groups:

  1. Workers
    WPP – workplace programmes – that deliver health support inputs with a focus on HIV prevention benefit employees directly at their place of work. One of the project’s objectives is therefore to improve the effectiveness of awareness-raising programmes at the workplace. Furthermore, mobile populations, particularly in the transport and agricultural sectors, are to benefit more from HIV prevention services. The aim is for these sectors to increase their own resources for fighting HIV and improve their coordination, thus making HIV prevention more effective.
  2. Youth
    The project supports efforts to ensure that more young men and women make use of HIV services. It aims to encourage young people to take responsibility for their own health and to get tested regularly for HIV. Moreover, it also aims to improve the range of health services available to young people.
  3. People with HIV
    The project targets people living with HIV and involves them in prevention and treatment. Strengthening advocacy for people with HIV can reduce stigmatization and discrimination – key obstacles that stand in the way of PLWH accessing these services – and can also overcome the barriers blocking access to consistent medical care and treatment. This constitutes a key contribution to prevention.
Results so far
  • Since 2010 Namibia has pursued an approach that engages all civil society actors in a joint fight against the epidemic.
  • In 2013, awareness-raising inputs and HIV tests at the workplace were made available for some 45,000 company employees. Service providers such as the Namibian Business Coalition on AIDS (NABCOA) and the Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG) have acquired extensive expertise in the planning and implementation of workplace programmes.
  • For the first time, various organisations in the transport and agricultural sectors have agreed on a joint strategy for the implementation of HIV prevention measures and have used their own financial resources to implement corresponding activities.
  • The HIV test rate in the project region Ohangwena has risen by 70 per cent in the period from 2010 to 2013.
  • Self-help groups for people with HIV are better organised and have begun to represent their interests in regional committees.


Carmen Perez Samaniego