Health

US hails Lesotho on HIV and AIDS fight

Staff Reporter

The United States of America has lauded the Lesotho government for the successes it has registered in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Lesotho has been able to maintain its HIV response, U.S. Ambassador to Lesotho, Maria Brewer, said yesterday. 

“The country was able to scale-up the use of HIV self-testing, expand access to multi-month dispensing, and complete the transition to the TLD treatment regimen as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO),” Brewer said.   

She indicated that these are all impressive accomplishments during a difficult time.

“I again congratulate the Kingdom of Lesotho on the progress that has been made during the pandemic and I thank the people of Lesotho for their tremendous courage and resilience,” she said.

Brewer was speaking at an event to commemorate World AIDS in Maseru.

“The U.S. government’s theme for World AIDS Day 2022 is ‘Putting Ourselves to the Test: Achieving Equity to End HIV’,” she said.  

Brewer also mentioned that this year’s theme emphasized accountability and action through an approach that centers on communities disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS.  

“Based on the 2020 Lesotho Population-based HIV Impact Assessment – LePHIA – Lesotho is considered to be at epidemic control,” she said. 

She further indicated that Lesotho has exceeded the UNAIDS goal of 90-90-90 meaning that 90 percent of individuals with HIV know their status, 90 percent of those who know their status are on treatment, and 90 percent of those on treatment are virally suppressed.

And as we know, people with HIV who are virally suppressed can lead a long and healthy life and are no longer infectious to others,” she said.

“Your Majesty (King Letsie III), in your ‘Speech from the throne’ you reaffirmed your government’s commitment to continue the fight against HIV/AIDS in collaboration with other stakeholders. 

‘The United States has been Lesotho’s steadfast partner in its fight against the AIDS epidemic. Over the past 15 years, we have provided a total of $817 million or M14.2 billion in funding to support the national HIV response,” she added.

Along with our partners, including the government, the Global Fund, the United Nations (UN) Family – often represented by UNAIDS – and other non-government and community-based organisations, Brewer said they were committed to standing with Lesotho until the AIDS epidemic has ended

“First, we want to achieve the 95-95-95 goals by 2025. In doing so, we want to ensure that no group is left behind. We want all children, young adult women, and key populations to receive the services that they need,” she said.  

 While tremendous progress has been made, much more remains to be done. UNAIDS estimated that there were 7,400 new HIV infections in Lesotho last year along with 4,500 deaths due to AIDS,” she added.

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