DAPP Namibia has been actively involved in fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS in Namibia for over 10 years. This contribution, together with the government’s political will and support, has assisted in creating an effective environment in battling HIV/AIDS.
A recent article appearing in the journal Devex applauds Namibia's achievements, particularly its surpassing many of the 90-90-90 targets set by UNAIDS in 2014. While the progress has been laudable, the article also points out that there is more work to do. Namibia still has the fifth highest HIV burden in the world.
Following the Partner Trail
In the past, undiagnosed HIV/AIDS patients were found by testing individuals in door-to-door campaigns. However, the Index Partner Testing (IPT) model developed by the CDC identifies vulnerable family members and sexual partners of newly diagnosed individuals. Under the previous approach, testers on average found new cases of HIV/AIDS among 2 percent of those tested. Over just the last year, IPT increased the average of newly discovered cases to 7.7 percent.
DAPP Namibia, a member of the Humana People to People Federation, has been a leader in the effort, and has been instrumental in rolling out the IPT method through its TCE program.
Index Partner Testing has proved more effective at finding hard-to-reach undiagnosed people in part, because it is more targeted, but also because it is implemented by staff who are embedded in the local community and are able to build relationships. This is linked to DAPP's personalized and community-based approach to HIV programming, known as Total Control of the Epidemic.
—Lela Baughman, PEPFAR Country Coordinator in Namibia
TCE was launched in Namibia in 2006 and has been working to fight the epidemic ever since. The program employs local staff and volunteers from the community, who help build trust in the program and convince respondents to identify their sexual partners so that they may be tested.
Click here to read a TCE field officer's story about her experience in the program as an HIV positive individual.
Learn more about the TCE method by clicking here.