The U.S. Embassy, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), celebrated the successful completion of the Saath-Saath project and announced its new LINKAGES Nepal project. The new project will continue to provide support for HIV prevention, care, and treatment. LINKAGES project starts in October 2016 and will support (1) Nepal’s ambitious goal of an AIDS-free generation and (2) the country’s achievement of the UNAIDS goal of 90-90-90 by 2020.
“USAID designed and implemented the Saath-Saath project (2011-2016) in consultation with and under the leadership of the Ministry of Health. The project met its goal of reducing the transmission and impact of HIV/AIDS and improving reproductive health among more than 500,000 key affected populations in 33 districts of Nepal,” said a press release issued by USAID.
Over the last 23 years, USAID’s HIV response and support contributed significantly to contain the HIV epidemic in Nepal. It helped streamline and standardize the country’s HIV prevention and care services and supported Nepal to expand the availability of high quality HIV testing services along with access to anti-retroviral drugs for key populations. Speaking during the event, Amy Tohill-Stull, Acting Mission Director, USAID/Nepal said, “Over time, the U.S. Government and the Government of Nepal worked together to help contain the HIV epidemic in Nepal.
HIV prevalence in the adult population dropped to 0.2 percent in 2015 from nearly 0.3 percent in 2005; while new annual estimated infections have dropped to below 1,400 in 2015 from a previous high of around 7,500 in 2000.”