At least a fifth of Francistown’s population estimated at just above 100 000 has been successfully enrolled on the Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART), Francistown City Council (FCC) Mayor Sylvia Muzila said on Monday.
Muzila made this revelation when addressing the full council session. The first full council session for the 2017/18 fiscal year is expected to come to a close this (Friday) afternoon with the mayor’s closing remarks.
“Currently, we have 22 000 people who are under the Anti-Retroviral (ARV) treatment in the city,” revealed Muzila, adding that Francistown has got the highest number of people living with HIV.
According to Muzila, at least 200 000 people – including youth and children – are now on anti-retroviral treatment in the city in a development that suggests Francistown is among the leading packers in HIV prevalence in the country.
Latest figures in relation to HIV prevalence contained in Botswana AIDS Impact Survey (BAIS) IV of 2013, Selibe-Phikwe is leading the pack followed by Francistown and Kasane.
However, Muzila is of the belief that Francistown is the worst affected area by the pandemic HIV/AIDS as most people are not forthcoming when it comes to testing.
“As a city, we have the highest figures in terms of the number of people infected. Statistically, Selibe-Phikwe is said to be leading the pack simply because most of the people here in Francistown are not aware of their HIV status. They are not testing for the virus,” she said.
Muzila said cities and urban centres are often the centre or linked with the spread of the killer disease because of their high population density – a development that calls for more efforts to be employed in the fight against the epidemic.
“In that regard, we need to mainstream HIV/AIDS activities across the departments and coordinating prevention and response activities,” said the mayor, who has been at the forefront in the fight against the disease.
Although a lot has been done to address the spread of HIV/AIDS, Muzila lamented that very little has been achieved on dealing with the ailment.
“We launched the 90-90-90 HIV/AIDS kick out campaign and managed to reach close to 4 500 residents where it was discovered that at least 10 percent of the people have never tested for HIV in their lives,” said Muzila, adding that more effort in testing for HIV is needed.