USA, Botswana celebrate milestone

American flag
American flag

The Government of Botswana and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) marked the end of the 24th International AIDS Conference in Montreal, Canada by sharing the monumental results of the Botswana AIDS Impact Survey V (BAIS V), the first population-based survey to confirm achievement of UNAIDS 95-95-95 treatment goal in sub-Saharan Africa.

The results confirm that, among adults in Botswana living with HIV, 95 percent were aware of their status, 98 percent of those aware of their status were on antiretroviral therapy (ART), and 98 percent of those on ART achieved viral load suppression. This 95-98-98 achievement means the country is well positioned to end the HIV/AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.

The BAIS V is a nationally representative household-based survey that was conducted between March and August 2021 to provide information on national and district-level progress toward key HIV targets and to measure the status of Botswana’s HIV response.

The Government of Botswana’s National AIDS and Health Promotion Agency (NAHPA), the Ministry of Health (MOH), and Statistics Botswana (SB) coordinated the survey.

It was conducted with financial support and technical assistance from PEPFAR with technical assistance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) in collaboration with other government and non-government institutions at the district and national levels.

The BAIS V showed that HIV prevalence among adults aged 15–64 is 20.9 percent – 15.4 percent among men and 26.3 percent among women. The clinical cascade for men was 93/97/97, 96/98/99 for women, and 84/98/91 for 15- to 24-year-olds.

The study results indicated that Botswana was able to achieve population-level impact by using granular data to identify and respond to specific population gaps for men, women, and youth. These results also demonstrate a patient-centred health service delivery system is achievable for a chronic infectious disease. By implementing BAIS V during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Botswana affirmed its commitment to sound HIV surveillance while safeguarding the health and wellbeing of surveyors and participants.

The U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy, Ambassador Dr. John Nkengasong, highlighted this momentous achievement and the comprehensive survey results when he congratulated Botswana’s Assistant Minister for Health, Honourable Sethomo Lelatisitswe, and his delegation in Montreal.

Overall, the results of the BAIS V show tremendous progress towards achieving HIV epidemic control in Botswana and demonstrate the impact of the national HIV response through the Government of Botswana’s outstanding commitment to collaborate with partners, including the U.S. Government through PEPFAR.

Editor's Comment
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