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Anti AIDS war winnable

Botswana is counted among five countries in the region that have achieved more than 80 per cent coverage in terms of access to HIV treatment.

Officiating at the World AIDS Day commemoration in Bobonong, President Lt Gen. Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama said the country was also ranked first in the percentage reduction in AIDS related deaths and stood at 71 per cent.

President Khama said the statistics showed “we should be surely optimistic about the goal of ending AIDS by the year 2030”.

With regards to PMTCT progamme, he said in the early stages of the HIV response, the programme was only offered in clinics with maternity wing and targeting the unborn child and now the porogramme had since moved and covered both mother and the child and was now available in all health facilities.

He reiterated that the estimated percentage of HIV infections among newborns among HIV positive women dropped from 40 pe rcent in 1999 to 1.4 percent as at June 2017 which he said was one of the flagship programmes government prioritised.

President Khama implored Batswana not to accept or tolerate a single HIV infection and highlighted that the resolve to eliminate vertical transmission of HIV from mother to child was a crucial step towards creating an HIV free generation.

In the year 2012, for the first time in the history of the country, he explained that vulnerable and marginalised groups were included in the HIV epidemic surveys which were achieved through partners and civil society organisations that designed tailor made programmes to ensure that no one was left behind in the interventions.

President Khama further explained that the country had been privileged with both financial and technical support from governments, partners such as PEPFAR, Global Fund, and development partners.He stated that countries had been challenged to fast track their commitment to end AIDS by 2030 and indicated that attaining such goals in Botswana was not a far-fetched dream given the commendable strides made so far as the country subscribed to the 90-90-90 global targets by 2020. The President called for all to test for HIV so that those with the virus were put on treatment to ensure high levels of viral suppression among Batswana.

He said though the country had witnessed a reduction in a number of new infections there were still a lot more to be done to reduce new infections among adolescent girls and young women aged 10-24 years.

In addition to HIV, he said teenage pregnancy and gender based violence was also high among them. The 2016 Botswana Youth Risk Behavioural Biological Surveillance Survey revealed that 22.3 per cent of 13-19 year old were sexually active, he highlighted.

President Khama further added that if the nation was to realise ending AIDS by 2030, there was a need to address social ills that continued to be rampant in the society such as sexual abuse, excessive alcohol intake and the use of drugs which had been identified as some of the factors that threw the country into the deep end. Ends

Source : BOPA

Author : Goratileone Kgwadu

Location : BOBONONG

Event : World AIDS Day commemoration

Date : Dec 03 Sun,2017

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