The Federal HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Office (HAPCO) said the efforts made during the past five years to curb the speared of HIV/AIDS have yielded remarkable results.
With more than half of all Ethiopian adults tested for HIV in the past five years and a campaign for behaviour change in place, specialists are now calling for a more targeted approach.
More than 565,000 people have received Voluntarily Counseling and blood Testing (VCT) in South Ethiopia Peoples State over the last six months, state’s health bureau said.
Behavioral change interventions are the foundation of prevention in high risk and vulnerable groups as well as the general population.
To reduce the rate of new HIV infections by 50 percent (from 0.28% in 2009 to 0.14% by 2014/15).
There were enormous efforts by the Government of Ethiopia to increase the availability and accessibility of HIV prevention services during the SPM I period. However, the evaluation of SPM I revealed that the scale of primary HIV prevention efforts was insufficient to stop the progress of the HIV epidemic. Moreover, primary HIV prevention efforts must target non-infected individuals that are vulnerable and at risk to HIV infection.
In general, all preventive services need to be expanded and made available to the broader population in both urban and rural areas. These services should also be expanded to specific population groups, including sex workers, in-school and out-of-school youth, uniformed services, migrants, residents of small market towns and new business opportunity sites (large scale farms, construction sites, mining, etc,) refugees and displaced populations including cross-border populations and populations with special needs like disabled people and elderly.
Even though there is a need to expand treatment, care and support services further, prevention of new HIV infections needs to remain the cornerstone of the national HIV response in Ethiopia. Creating comprehensive HIV knowledge, increasing self-risk perception and promoting behavioral changes at a population level must be intensified, targeting highly vulnerable and at- risk populations to maximize the yield of efforts. The universal access targets can be achieved only if primary prevention is intensified to the level that can enable a reduction of new infections.
To achieve maximum impact, prevention of new HIV infection should utilize a combination of proven behavioral, structural and bio-medical approaches. HIV prevention strategies and interventions need to be evidence based and should work in a concerted manner towards shared prevention goals. Knowing the epidemic and matching the response to the epidemic is the key guiding principle in developing successful prevention interventions. Under this thematic area, there are three sub-thematic areas: behavioral, structural and bio-medical HIV prevention approaches.