Since the first case of HIV infection was identified in 1988, Nepal has been able to make some substantial progress in National HIV & AIDS response; nevertheless, still there is a lot to do. HIV prevalence among adult population has been declining in slow pace (from 0.34% in 2005 to 0.20% in 2015), however, country has made significant achievement in reduction of new HIV infection from 7,512 annually in 2,000 to 1,331 in 2015, despite of high HIV prevalence among certain population groups such as people who inject drugs and male and transgender sex workers(a. HIV prevalence among this sub-groups is more than 5% due to which Nepal’s HIV epidemic is categorized as concentrated epidemic. This achievement so far in terms of reduction in HIV prevalence and new HIV infection is the result of collaborative efforts of national government entities, external development partners , non-governmental organizations , civil society organization and communities of key affected populations .
Over the past few years, we have gradually scaled up HIV related services in most of the districts of Nepal. As of end of 2015, we have 263 HIV testing and counseling (HTC) and ,Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) management services sites across 75 districts. So far, we have been able to scale up PMTCT services up to birthing centres in more than 40 districts. , 62 sites are offering Anti-retroviral Therapy (ART) services and 27sites providing CD4 test facilities. Like wise, we have established 11 sites for Opioid Substitution Therapy (OST) services in the country.. Targeted Intervention for HIV program is present in more than 35 districts, We are committed to scale up these services gradually and continuously to grassroots level.
National HIV & AIDS Strategy (2011-2016) is our current guiding document for Nepal’s HIV response which has direct alignment with GoN’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP), Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and Nepal Health Sector PlanNHSP II, thus we have contributed directly in poverty reduction and MDG-related achievement in the country. We are now in the process of formulating our new strategy for 2016-2021 that will align our collective efforts to reach Sustainable Development Goals.
A multi-prong approach, to integration of HIV and Family Planning, Early Infant Diagnosis (EID), TB/HIV services and moving towards monitoring of HIV drug resistance, are some of the best practices that we have initiated in recent years.
Nevertheless, improving governance and coordination among the stakeholders, relative low coverage of services, scarcity of trained human resources and addressing inequalities are keychallenges for which we have to make more collaborative efforts in the days ahead. Given this, in coming years, we will make additional efforts in speedy scaling up HIV related services, effective decentralization of HIV related training such as HIV counseling, PMTCT and Clinical Management Training and Strategic Information (SI) activities to regional and district level.
As Director of NCASC, I would like to thank to all Government officials, NCASC team, Health Care Workers, EDPs, INGOs, Civil Society Organizations and all beneficiaries for their meaningful contribution in national HIV response, without which we would not have what we have today.
Finally, as we are moving forward to new SDGs, we have new vision of Ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 and goals to achieve optimized Reach Recommend, Test, Treat and Retain (RRTTR) for 90-90-90 and combination prevention by 2020.
This is in fact a ambitious targets to reach 90-90-90 by 2020 and end epidemic by 2030. So I do expect the same sincere efforts and contribution from you all for making it real success in future.
Thank you all.
Dr. Tarun Paudel