Morogoro, Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania, the Honorable Kassim Majaliwa, announced on December 1, 2023, the first results from the 2022-2023 Tanzania HIV Impact Survey – PDF 5MB (THIS 2022-2023), which shows that Tanzania has made substantial progress toward controlling its HIV epidemic.
The 2022-2023 survey is the fifth national HIV survey to be conducted in Tanzania, and the second population-based HIV impact assessment (PHIA). PHIAs are national surveys – implemented under the leadership of partner country governments, and by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and implementing partners such as ICAP at Columbia University – providing direct measurement of progress toward global targets to control the HIV epidemic. The first PHIA in Tanzania was conducted between 2016 and 2017 (THIS 2016-2017).
The Prime Minster of the United Republic of Tanzania, Hon. Kassim Majaliwa stated: “The 2022-2023 survey found the percentage of people living with HIV, known as HIV prevalence, is 4.4 percent among people aged 15 years and older (4.5 percent in mainland Tanzania and 0.4 percent in Zanzibar), and varies by residence (5.0 percent in urban areas and 4.0 percent in rural areas) and gender (5.6 percent in women and 3.0 percent in men). The national HIV prevalence estimate translates to approximately 1.5 million people aged 15 years and older living with HIV in Tanzania.”
“The survey also showed new HIV infections continue to decline in Tanzania, from an estimate of 72,000 annually in THIS 2016-2017 to 60,000 annually in the current survey.” Hon. Majaliwa added while launching the THIS 2022-2023 first results.
The UNAIDS 95-95-95 targets for 2025 call for 95 percent of all people living with HIV to be aware of their HIV status, 95 percent of those aware of their status to be on antiretroviral treatment (ART), and 95 percent of those on ART to achieve viral load suppression. The survey estimated that among people aged 15 years and older living with HIV in Tanzania, 83 percent are aware of their status, 98 percent of those aware of their HIV status are on ART, and 94 percent of those on ART are virally suppressed. Tanzania has made remarkable gains since THIS 2016-2017, in which achievement toward UNAIDS 95-95-95 targets was measured to be 61 percent, 94 percent, and 87 percent, respectively.
The considerable improvement in UNAIDS 95-95-95 achievement means there has been a large increase in ART coverage and viral load suppression among people living with HIV aged 15 years and older in Tanzania. ART coverage in this population has grown from 57 percent in THIS 2016-2017 to 81 percent in THIS 2022-2023, and viral suppression has also increased from 52 percent in THIS 2016-2017 to 78 percent in THIS 2022-2023. Viral suppression is important because individuals with a suppressed HIV viral load will stay healthy and are unlikely to become ill from the HIV virus, and because those with an HIV viral load that is undetectable in laboratory tests cannot transmit HIV to others.
“The United States Government congratulates the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania on their remarkable progress toward ending its HIV epidemic,” said Ambassador Michael Battle, US Ambassador to Tanzania. “Today’s announcement demonstrates the power and strength of the partnership between America and Tanzania to end the scourge of HIV in Tanzania and improve the health, safety, and prosperity of the people of Tanzania.”
“These surveys show that our efforts in Tanzania are making a powerful, real-world impact. They also highlight what we must do next to end HIV in Tanzania,” said Mahesh Swaminathan, MD, CDC Tanzania Country Director. “These data shine a light on the key areas that remain unreached and require urgent attention. As a longstanding leader in the global HIV response, CDC is proud to be an important part of Tanzania’s ongoing efforts and commitment to end its HIV epidemic,” he said.
“The preliminary results of THIS 2022-2023 offer impressive evidence of progress in confronting HIV through the determined efforts of so many — from leadership at all levels to the health facility teams and community members,” said Wafaa El-Sadr, director of ICAP at Columbia University.
The Government of Tanzania has addressed the HIV epidemic through policies and programs that increase the number of individuals living with HIV who know their status, are on treatment, and have a suppressed HIV viral load. These include HIV testing strategies for hard-to-reach groups using index testing and social network strategies, dispensing ART in a multi-month supply, rapid scale up of dolutegravir-containing treatment regimens for adults and children, and investment in laboratory networks to increase availability of HIV viral load testing.
In addition to the progress noted, the survey identified remaining gaps in the HIV response in Tanzania. The 2022-2023 survey found that one in five people living with HIV in the country are still unaware of their status and more than 330,000 people living with HIV did not have their virus under control.
The recent THIS survey was conducted between November 2022 and March 2023. It included nearly 36,000 participants living in all 31 regions of mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar. Population surveys like THIS 2022-2023 are the gold standard for measuring the state of the HIV epidemic and program progress.
The Government of the United Republic of Tanzania through the Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS) and Zanzibar AIDS Commission (ZAC), and the Ministry of Health of the United Republic of Tanzania, and the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar led the THIS 2022-2023 survey. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Office of Chief Government Statistician (OCGS) Zanzibar, the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP), and the Zanzibar Integrated HIV, Hepatitis, Tuberculosis and Leprosy Program (ZIHHTLP) implemented THIS 2022-2023. The survey was completed with technical assistance through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and ICAP at Columbia University and with funding from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through CDC.