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Botswana rate third highest HIV prevalence in the world - report

NNASARETHA KGAMANYANE
The Third Botswana National Strategic Framework for HIV and AIDS 2019 to 2023 report indicates that Botswana has the third highest HIV prevalence in the world following eSwatini and Lesotho in 2016.

“In 2017, 23.7% of people aged 15 and older in Botswana were living with HIV with women accounting for 27.2% compared to 20.3% for men. An estimated 378.193 persons of all ages were living with HIV in 2017, comprising 215.361 females and 162.832 males. HIV prevalence among young people aged between 15 to 24 years of age was 8.4% in 2017, with females higher prevalence of 11.2% than males with less than six percent,” it stated. 

The report t further noted that an estimated 34.742 young people aged between 15 and 24 years of age live with HIV, of whom 66% (23,089) are female. About 9.018 children aged between zero and 14 are said to have also being living with the epidemic.

However, the report pointed out that HIV prevalence in the country varied considerably among districts. For an example, prevalence ranges from 13.3% in Hukuntsi district to 33.4% in Mahalapye district. Higher HIV prevalence in some districts have been attributed to the prevalence of mining operations, which separate families and expose mineworkers and their partners to higher-risk sexual behaviors.

Additionally, the report says HIV prevalence among people aged between

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15 and 49 years in Botswana (Botswana  AIDS Impact Survey IV) and by district, Mahalapye has the highest prevalence of 33.4% followed by Selebi Phikwe and North East with 30.8%, Francistown 29.9%, Bobirwa 29.7%, Tutume 28.7%, Goodhope and Kgalagadi 27.3%, Kweneng East 26.8%, Mabutsane 25.6%, Boteti 25.3%, Kgatleng 24.6%, SouthEast 23.3%, Lobatse 20.3%, Gaborone, Serowe/ Palapye and Kweneng West with 20%, Southern 18%, Ngamiland 17.3%, Jwaneng 15.9% and the lowest being Hukuntsi with 13.3%.

It also states that new HIV infections in Botswana peaked at 33.000 in 1995, but therefore declined reaching about 12.000 in 2006. However, the report shows that since 2010, new HIV infections increased by four percent from 12.381 in 2010 to 13.191 in 2017.

It also noted that the new infections in the country vary by age group where it shows that young people aged between 15 and 34 years are at a higher risk. Females are mostly affected than their male counter parts. It noted that that reversal of the downward trend of new infections threatens the country’s quest to achieve epidemic control and underscored the urgent need to strengthen HIV prevention strategies.



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