The first findings from the Swaziland HIV Incidence Measurement Survey (SHIMS) were presented at a satellite meeting of the National Health and Research Conference in Mbabane, Swaziland. The findings suggest that the HIV epidemic in Swaziland may have begun to stabilize, albeit at still high levels. The SHIMS study was conducted by the Government of Swaziland in collaboration with ICAP and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
ICAP senior technical director Dr. Jessica Justman presented highlights of the findings. SHIMS found that as of 2011, one-third (31%) of adults in Swaziland, age 18-49 years, are living with HIV. While this national HIV prevalence is the highest in the world, it matches the 2006 Demographic Health Survey findings for the same age group, indicating that the HIV epidemic in Swaziland has stabilized over the past five years.
“The country continues to have the highest national HIV prevalence rate in the world and very high HIV incidence rates. Since HIV services in Swaziland are more widely available now and we understand that ART treatment prevents the spread of new infections, the Ministry of Health will use these new results to plan HIV prevention, care, and treatment programs in Swaziland,” said Rejoice Nkambule, deputy director of health services – public health at the Swaziland Ministry of Health.