While Botswana has been praised for fighting HIV/ AIDS, there is a disturbing trend where teenage girls and young women are increasingly becoming infected.
South East District councillors expressed concern about the number of teenagers infected with the virus. This was after they were told that 41 out of 577 women aged between 15- 19 years who tested for HIV, tested positive, during the recording period.
Councillors have been urged to join hands together with community leaders to talk to teenagers about HIV/AIDS issues.
“This shows that the cases of HIV/AIDS could grow even further if we are not going to talk to our children about being sexually active at a young age. It is our responsibility as councillors to tell our communities of what is transpiring. Our teenagers need to focus on their education so that they have a brighter future,” specially elected councillor, Gloria Batlang said. SEDC chairperson, Phenyo Segokgo also expressed concern over the number of infected teenagers. He said his district is encouraging utilisation of youth friendly services and would continue with the multi-sectoral approach
Still on South East District Development Committee and District Disaster Management Committee report that was presented before full council meeting, it showed that 1,492 cases of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) were registered in quarter one.
“Vaginal discharge remains an increased STI prevalence with a total of 726 cases (57%) followed by urethral discharge (17.3%; 258).”
Some of the challenges that health offices face are communication failure as some clients phone services are turned off, some are non-citizens who are not qualifying for the service, reluctance/fear of the clients to disclose their HIV status, and staff turnover as they are looking for lucrative job opportunities.
The report says Central Statistics Office (CSO) would continue with follow up of the clients through home visits or cell phones. It says they would intensify health education on importance of utilising the ARV programme and CSO to advocate for recruitment of new staff, liaise with facilities.