Molepolole — Couple testing is critical to fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS as it provides timely treatment to those who are already infected and preventing new infections, head of preventative services at Kweneng District Health Management Team (DHMT), Ms Nancy Mogwera has said.
Speaking during a campaign in Molepolole, Ms Mogwera said when people know their status they would be able to access timely intervention measures such as PMTC and treatment services thereby halting transmission and new infections in the process.
Giving an overview of the campaign, she said they embarked on the initiative after realising that there were still cases of new infections reported even though the government has a number of preventative measures in place.
Ms Mogwera said although they had targeted 50 couples, they managed to attract 66 who tested. She said the response was a sign of taking responsibility by those who participated in the campaign. She encouraged couples who took part to be ambassadors of the couple testing campaign and to encourage others to do the same.
The head of family health international (FHI360) in Molepolole, Mr Morongwa Dikgang said although Botswana has done a lot to combat HIV/AIDS, new cases were still being reported.
He said by 2013 about 319 750 people were living with HIV and that 9 170 new cases were reported over the same periods. He said the scenario presented a challenge that could not be defeated without dramatically expanding prevention efforts, including offering education and promotion of HIV/testing.
Mr Morogwa said in 2015 out of over 3 000 expectant mothers, only 591 new about their HIV positive status whilst 141 were confirmed new cases, and that only 281 couples tested.