HIV Still Nation’s Biggest Challenge [press release]

| June 17, 2014 | 0 Comments

HIV infection is still the biggest challenge facing the country, says coordinator of the National AIDS Coordinating Agency (NACA), Ms Grace Muzila. Briefing the media yesterday, June 16, about the recent Botswana AIDS Impact Survey (BAIS) IV, she said the national HIV prevalence rate was estimated at 18.5% among people aged 18 months and above.

HIV infection is still the biggest challenge facing the country, says coordinator of the National AIDS Coordinating Agency (NACA), Ms Grace Muzila.

Briefing the media yesterday, June 16, about the recent Botswana AIDS Impact Survey (BAIS) IV, she said the national HIV prevalence rate was estimated at 18.5% among people aged 18 months and above. Ms Muzila noted that the figure was 17.6% in BAIS III. She said within the same population, HIV incidence rate was estimated at 1.35%, which translated to between 10,000 and 12,000 new infections annually.

The fourth AIDS impact survey was aimed at updating the national HIV estimates among the population aged six weeks to 64 years. The survey also aimed to update indicative trends in sexual and preventive behaviour among the population aged 10-64 years.

The survey was also meant to provide a comparison between HIV rate, behaviour, knowledge, attitude, poverty and cultural factors that were associated with the epidemic. Ms Muzila said the results showed that nearly 50.6% of females aged 35 to 39 lived with HIV while the prevalence rate was 43.8% for males aged between 40 to 44 years.

However, Ms Muzila noted that there had been a decline in HIV prevalence among the younger age groups over the years. She said HIV prevalence among 20-24 year olds declined from 12.3% in 2008 to 10.3% in 2013. Another decline in prevalence rate was recorded among the 25-29 year old group, which dropped from 25.9% in 2008 to 21.2 per cent in 2013.

“These recorded declines make the possibility of an HIV free generation a reality,” said Ms Muzila. The NACA coordinator said the results of BAIS IV showed that less than 50% of young people had comprehensive knowledge to protect themselves from HIV infection. She said the results required all stakeholders, especially the media, to intensify their efforts in opening channels of communication and fostering discussions about HIV.

Source : Government of Botswana

Category: Medical/Health Care

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