Over 11, 000 New HIV Infections Occur in Ethiopia Annually, says HAPCO

ADDIS ABABA – About 11, 000 new HIV infections occur in Ethiopia each year, according to the Federal HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Office (HAPCO).

“Young people account for 67 per cent of all the new HIV infections,” said Dr. Tsigereda Kifle, head of HAPCO, while addressing a meeting that evaluated her office’s quarterly performance report on Tuesday.

The office’s projection for 2021 shows that at least 622, 000 people live with the virus in Ethiopia while the virus causes 12, 000 deaths, annually.

Dr. Tsigerda said “remarkable improvements” have been registered in antiretroviral drugs use.

Currently, her Office estimate 86 percent of Ethiopians living with HIV know their HIV-positive status.

And 94 percent of them are currently receiving antiretroviral therapy, Dr. Tsigereda revealed.

A majority of them (94%) have managed to reduce their viral load in their body to the desired level and are living a healthy life, she added.

The country also witnessed a significant drop in mother-to-child transmission of HIV in the past two decades.

Dr. Tsigereda attributed the “significant drop” in the rate of transmission to the decision made in 2013 to provide antiretroviral medicine to pregnant women living with HIV free of charge.

According to the UNAIDS 2018 report, ninety-two percent of pregnant women living with HIV accessed the medicine, preventing 3700 new HIV infections among newborns.