Mayor Takes HIV Test Publicly

| May 27, 2015

Gaborone mayor, Mr Kagiso Thutlwe, on May 23, took an HIV test publicly in an effort to encourage the public to follow suite.

The mayor made a call to all leaders from all corners of the country to join the initiative of testing. “Let’s test and tell people to do like we did,” he lamented.

Mr Thutlwe said this at the mayor’s 90-90-90 HIV Test event, which was held at the bus rank. Mr Thutlwe expressed concern about the role of the local government in fighting HIVAIDS, saying, they have since lost the steam and no longer talked about it.

He said there was a global campaign that was called the 90-90-90, which has set new target for testing and treatment. He added that the 90-90-90 refers to the target of 90%.

“The target are three key steps that are essential on both better health and care for HIV people and also limiting the new infections and the further spread of the pandemic,” he said.

Mr Thutlwe further said, although there were many education programmes in Botswana, research showed that majority of men did not use condoms.

He cited a country such as Uganda, where infection rates have gone down as the national leaders spoke openly about the HIVAIDS and led in the prevention campaigns. ” We cannot afford to wait to take action while there are many HIV related deaths in our Country.

We have to reintroduce the discourse about the HIVAIDS and create an environment where people can talk openly about HIV and make sure that everyone understands the danger of unprotected sex and the responsibility they have to protect themselves and their partner,” he said

He said the aim of the campaign was to reduce the infection rate by encouraging testing for all people, ensuring that people understand their rights and treatment option and encouraging people to change their sexual behaviour.

The mayor said he was targeting to at least 20 000 youths to test, therefore planning to hold a prominent festival where entrance shall be free to only people who tested at the national stadium.

While delivering the welcome remarks, the representative from UNAIDS, Dr Sung Gang said the test and care campaign slogan was to promote the reduction on new infections.

He said the 90-90-90 mayor’s test drive initiative meant making sure that there was a global goal of 90% of the people knowing their HIV status, at least 90 per cent are already under treatment and 90% of the people complied and undergone the treatment , which was a target for year 2030.

He said HIVAIDS still remained a major treat as people did not protect themselves or did not know how to protect themselves and were also not tapping to the services provided.

“Cities must take a lead in responding to HIVAIDS in a fast track mode,” he said.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: Medical/Health Care

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