New data released Wednesday demonstrates Rwanda’s remarkable progress toward achieving HIV epidemic control — particularly in attaining high levels of linkage to treatment and viral load suppression among people living with HIV.
Results from the Rwanda Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (RPHIA) show that 76 percent of all HIV-positive adults, including almost 80 percent of HIV-positive women, have achieved viral load suppression, a widely used measure of effective HIV treatment in a population.
This surpasses the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) target of 73 percent by 2020.
“Rwanda has made tremendous progress by reaching or exceeding the UNAIDS 90–90–90 targets particularly among women and, nationally, by attaining 84–98–90 among adults,” reads a related press release.
The survey is a joint effort by the Government of Rwanda, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and ICAP at Columbia University.
As noted, the preliminary survey findings reflect the degree to which Rwanda’s national HIV programs and policies have contributed significantly towards reducing new infections and ensuring people living with HIV are linked to and sustained on HIV treatment.
The RPHIA results will also inform the future direction of Rwanda’s efforts to reach epidemic control by closing identified gaps.
“RPHIA preliminary findings highlight the results of the country leadership, citizen participation and strong partnerships that characterized the fight against HIV in Rwanda,” said Minister of Health, Dr. Diane Gashumba.
“I am happy with our progress towards achieving 90-90-90 UNAIDS global targets. The remaining gaps identified will require more efforts and sustained collaboration with our partners – I commend the very valuable support from PEPFAR, CDC, ICAP and other research institutions in Rwanda involved in the design, implementation and analysis of these data. We look forward to disseminating the RPHIA results in Kigali next month.”
Amb Deborah L. Birx, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and U.S. Representative for Global Health Diplomacy, congratulated Rwanda on the “remarkable results.”
She said: “They prove what's possible through the combination of political leadership, proactive policies, data-driven programs, and community engagement—all essential ingredients for reaching HIV/AIDS epidemic control.”
“Congratulations to the government and people of Rwanda for their dedication to stopping their HIV epidemic and linking more than 97 percent of those diagnosed into care.”
The CDC Director, Dr Robert Redfield, said that the success the country has achieved in surpassing the UNAIDS 2020 goal demonstrates the power of effective HIV treatment and care.
Redfield noted that CDC remains committed to supporting Rwanda and other nations as they respond to the HIV pandemic and save lives.
“Rwanda has already reached and exceeded the global 2020 HIV targets, and this is a testament to the Government of Rwanda’s commitment to confronting its HIV epidemic,” noted Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr, the Director of ICAP.
“The RPHIA results illustrate the importance of population-based surveys in measuring the progress and impact of national HIV programmes and policies.”Follow https://twitter.com/KarhangaJames