Swaziland: Improved Testing Reduces HIV Infections in Some African Regions

Among the HIV population in Swaziland, rates of viral suppression have doubled since 2011 and new HIV infections have decreased by nearly half. The findings are from the Swaziland HIV Incidence Measurement Survey (SHIMS2), a population-based HIV impact assessment survey that included more than 14,000 children and adults.
SHIMS2, conducted by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, is the second survey conducted in Swaziland and follows the 2011 SHIMS1 survey among adults aged 18 to 49 years. The results of SHIMS2 showed that the annual rate of HIV incidence among adults 15 years and older was 1.36%. Among adults aged 18 to 49 years, HIV incidence was 1.39%––nearly half of the rate in 2011 at 2.48%.
Twenty-seven percent of the adult population in Swaziland was found to be HIV-positive. The prevalence among adults aged 18 to 49 years was 30.5%, a figure similar to the 2011 HIV prevalence percentage. Viral load suppression was achieved in 73.1% of adults living with HIV. Twice as many individuals aged 18 to 49 years in SHIMS2 achieved viral load suppression at 71.3% compared with 34.8% in 2011.
The substantial progress made in Swaziland can be contributed to the increase in HIV testing across the country, and the significant increase in patients on antiretroviral agents from 2011 to 2016. Other HIV control interventions also played a key role.
“Because of the severe HIV epidemic in Swaziland, it was critical for us to implement a combination HIV prevention package, scale up HIV care and treatment services, and engage in ongoing measurement of HIV incidence in order to assess the impact of these efforts,” said Sen Sibongile Ndlela-Simelane, honorable Minister of Health, Swaziland. Read more via Specialty Pharmacy Times