Mmegi Online :: Botswana stuns the world with HIV strategy
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Monday 15 October 2018, 18:00 pm.
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Botswana stuns the world with HIV strategy

Botswana‘s HIV/AIDS strategy has stunned world experts after it emerged the best country in treatment and containment of the virus that causes AIDS. A new report published in The Lancet HIV says Botswana is by far exceeding goals for addressing the HIV crisis, well ahead of a deadline set by the United Nations.
By Tefo Pheage Thu 31 Mar 2016, 09:58 am (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Botswana stuns the world with HIV strategy








This comes a few weeks after the country was ranked the friendliest country to people living with HIV/AIDS, by a March 1 survey published by Afrobarometer, a Pan-African non-partisan research network, which ranked Botswana first among 33 countries surveyed. In the most recent report, Botswana topped the world, beating even the most developed countries. The report shows that Botswana, a middle income status country with HIV infection rates of up to 25 percent of the adult population, has moved ahead of other countries — both Western nations and the economically disadvantaged — in tackling the AIDS epidemic.

The United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS has called on countries to strive to ensure that 90 percent of their citizens know their HIV status and that 90 percent are treated with ant-retroviral therapy to achieve 90 percent viral suppression. However the report says Botswana is exceeding those goals, well ahead of a 2020 deadline.

The Minister of Health, Dorcas Makgato said the ratings confirm what other studies and researches have always said about the country, in its fight against the HIV pandemic.

“It is a welcome development especially given the effort and resources that have gone into it. Taking the bold step to be the first country in the continent to provide treatment

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has paid off,” she told Mmegi.

 “We will continue to maximise our efforts in curbing the scourge, and I do not want to  become complacent now. This is now the hardest part in order to achieve epidemic control by 2020,” she said.

Research shows that Botswana has reached a viral suppression rate of 96 percent among its infected citizens, mostly between the ages 15-49. This is attributed to the country allowing international AIDS researchers and clinicians to assist in the fight. The report also shows that Botswana started the battle early in 2001, with a goal of testing high-risk populations and making sure anti-AIDS drugs were available to people who needed them, even in remote villages. Research shows that countries in the West are lagging behind Botswana in the fight to suppress the virus that causes AIDS, reaching anywhere from 60 percent of their HIV-infected citizens in Europe and just 30 percent in the United States.

It is believed that if all countries could reach those guidelines by 2020, then within 10 years, rates of new infections would go down by 90 percent in the world.

Despite all this, Botswana still has the challenge of dealing with most at risk populations and efforts continue to address the issues.

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