The Swaziland HIV Incidence Measurement Survey (SHIMS2) began fieldwork in August 2016 and announced results in July 2017. The findings, announced at the 9th IAS Conference on HIV Science (IAS 2017) in Paris, revealed impressive progress in confronting the HIV epidemic. Details on the preliminary findings as well as a roundup of global media coverage can be found below. In 2010-11, ICAP led SHIMS, the first Swaziland HIV Incidence Measurement Survey.
Key Preliminary Findings
Between 2011, when SHIMS1 was conducted, and SHIMS2 in 2016:
- HIV incidence among adults fell by nearly half (2.5% to 1.4%)
- Percentage of HIV-positive adults with viral load suppression (VLS), as a measure of control of the virus, doubled (35% to 71%)
- HIV prevalence among adults was stable at 30%, similar to the 2011 HIV prevalence of 32%.
SHIMS2 Results in the News
Global and local Eswatini media outlets converged for dual press conferences in Eswatini and Paris -- at IAS 2017 -- to hear SHIMS2 results announced live.
A number of notable figures championed the results, including His Majesty King Mswati III; Sibusiso Dlamini, the honorable Prime Minister; Senator Sibongile Ndlela-Simelane, the honorable Minister of Health; Ambassador Deborah L. Birx, M.D., U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy; Lisa J. Peterson, US Ambassador to Eswatini; Shannon Hader, MD, MPH, director of the CDC’s Division of Global HIV & TB; Wafaa El-Sadr, MD, MPH, MPA, director of ICAP; and Jessica Justman, MD, ICAP’s senior technical director and principal investigator of all of ICAP’s PHIA projects.
Below is a curated roundup of media articles published following the announcement. See here for the official PHIA press release.
AFP: Swaziland turns around world's highest HIV infection rate: report
Swaziland, which bears the world's heaviest HIV burden, has halved the rate of new infections in five years by boosting access to virus-suppressing drugs, researchers said Monday.
Aidsmap: Swaziland: New infections halved in five years as HIV treatment scales up
SHIMS2 is the first direct evidence that expanding HIV treatment results in fewer HIV infections in a country with a major epidemic, researchers said.
AP: HIV epidemic 'coming under control' in nation with top rate
The United States government says the HIV epidemic is "coming under control" in the country with the world's highest prevalence of HIV, Swaziland.
CBS News: AIDS experts fear Trump budget cuts could impact HIV/AIDS fight
After President Trump announced a "hard-power" budget plan that prioritizes defense spending over diplomacy and foreign aid, the United Nations programs combating HIV and AIDS recently released some promising news.
CNN: Proposed US budget cuts will help new HIV infections flourish, experts warn
Fear and concern are consuming the minds of many experts in the field of HIV control and it's not just because of the 1.8 million people that became newly infected with the virus, nor the 1 million who died of AIDS, in 2016.
Devex: Q&A: How Swaziland got on track to contain the world's highest HIV prevalence
Dr. Velephi Okello, the deputy director of health services at Swaziland's ministry of health, presented findings from a new survey showing that Swaziland — which has the highest adult HIV prevalence in the world — is on track toward epidemic control.
Kaiser Family Foundation: New PEPFAR Data Indicate 4 African Countries Approaching Control Of HIV Epidemics
Today, the United States announced that through support from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) four African countries are approaching control of their HIV epidemics.
Science: Swaziland makes major strides against its AIDS epidemic
New data from Swaziland, a tiny country in southern Africa, provide some of the most convincing evidence yet that aggressively ramping up treatment for HIV/AIDS works on a population level to cut the rate of new infections.
Swazi Observer: Boost for country’s fight to end AIDS
Swaziland has made momentous strides in the fight against HIV/AIDS as SHIMS2 findings revealed a major increase, from 34.8% to 71.3% viral load suppression among those on antiretroviral treatment.
UNAIDS: UNAIDS congratulates Kingdom of Swaziland on achieving over 73% viral load suppression among adults living with HIV and a major reduction in HIV incidence between 2011 and 2016
“Swaziland has demonstrated to the world that shared responsibility and global solidarity produces results,” said UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibé.
PHIA Presents Results at IAS 2017
Click below to watch the oral abstract: Hitting the First 90 Target: Lessons from Population-based Surveys.
Video: IAS 2017 Oral Abstract: Hitting the First 90 Target: Lessons from Population-based Surveys
Photo: Dr. Velephi Okello, deputy director of Health Services-Clinical Services, Ministry of Health-Eswatini, presents results from SHIMS2.