Sierra Leone faces challenges in achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal on HIV/AIDS, with concerns raised about meeting global targets by 2030.

The Network of HIV Positives in Sierra Leone (NETHIPS) has taken proactive steps by organizing a three-day national consultative review meeting on HIV/AIDS service delivery.

Led by the national coordinator of NETHIPS, Madam Wilheimina Sawyer, stakeholders gathered in BO for intensive discussions from March 13 to 15, 2024. Participants included health workers, civil society activists, key affected populations, HIV/AIDS recipients of care, expert clients, peer educators, the media, and security forces.

The meeting focused on the UNAIDS 2030 target of 95-95-95, aiming for 95% of people living with HIV to know their status, 95% of those diagnosed to receive sustained antiretroviral therapy, and 95% of those receiving therapy to achieve viral suppression.

Madam Sawyer highlighted various challenges impeding progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS. These include stigma and discrimination within the community, lack of awareness of HIV status, treatment defaulters, and breaches in confidentiality by health workers. These issues contribute to the continued transmission of the virus and hinder efforts to achieve viral suppression.

NETHIPS emphasized the importance of addressing these challenges through amendments that adhere to international standards and are binding for all stakeholders. The organization aims to strengthen service delivery and promote adherence to treatment protocols to reduce HIV transmission rates.

The urgency of these efforts is underscored by recent data from the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which estimates that Sierra Leone has 83,000 people living with HIV, with only half aware of their status. Additionally, certain districts, including Kono, Kailahun, Bo, Moyamba, Bombali, and Western Urban, are identified as high-burden areas for HIV/AIDS.