HIV hopes and struggles

Bame Piet
SHAKE ON IT: VP Slumber Tsogwane with Ministers Edwin Dikoloti and Kabo Morwaeng at the launch of the report

Botswana, a country grappling with HIV prevalence, has consistently recorded approximately 2,200 new HIV infections annually since 2021, according to the recently launched Botswana Aids Impact Survey (BAIS V) report.

The comprehensive survey was conducted collaboratively by esteemed entities including the National Aids and Health Promotion Agency (NAHPA), the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Statistics Botswana, the Ministry of Health, and the Botswana National Health Laboratory.

The study took place from March to August 2021.

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The report reveals that the annual incidence of HIV among adults aged 15 to 64 years in Botswana stands at 0.2%, translating to approximately 2,200 new cases of HIV each year among adults.

The distribution of new cases leans towards 0.4% among females and 0.0% among males, underscoring gender-based disparities.

Moreover, the report highlights a concerning HIV prevalence rate of 20.8% among adults, reflecting the presence of around 329,000 adults living with HIV in the country.

The majority of this group is composed of females.

Remarkably, the survey also discovered that an impressive number of individuals across various age groups are well-informed about their HIV status.

In particular, over 98% of individuals between the ages of 15 and 24 are already receiving treatment and have achieved Viral Load Suppression (VLS).

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This signifies a significant accomplishment for Botswana, as it surpasses the UNAIDS 95-95-95 target for 2025. The target entails achieving 95% awareness of HIV status, 95% diagnosis rate, and 95% Viral Load Suppression among diagnosed individuals on Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART).

The survey’s findings reveal that numerous districts within the country have successfully reached the UNAIDS target.

However, Kgatleng and Tutume districts appear to lag behind, and there is a notable percentage of residents in the Ngwaketse South district who are unaware of their HIV status.

Additionally, the BAIS V report highlights a significant accomplishment: 95% of mothers aged between 15 and 49 years, who gave birth within the 12 months preceding the survey, were aware of their HIV status.

This success underscores the effectiveness of the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTC) program.

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Furthermore, participants who were aware of their HIV-positive status for 2-3 years prior to the survey indicated that they had refrained from breastfeeding their infants, reflecting their commitment to safeguarding their children’s health.

In conclusion, the BAIS V report offers a comprehensive understanding of Botswana’s progress in combating HIV and underscores the nation’s accomplishments and areas of improvement.

 

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