Oodi — The HIV Treat All Strategy is an important milestone in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
Officially launching the initiative in Oodi in the Kgatleng District on Friday, President Lt Gen. Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama said the strategy moved the country closer to achieving epidemiologic control and strengthening the healthcare system to deliver the highest quality of care.
"The investment that we are making in the new HIV Treat All Strategy today is an investment in ensuring a healthy and disease free future for all Batswana," President Khama said.
Health, he said, remained a priority because only a healthy nation would bear responsibilities of sustaining development goals in a rapidly changing society.
President Khama said Botswana led the continent by keeping up-to-date with the latest scientific advancements in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
Meanwhile, it had been 35 years since the first HIV case was diagnosed in the world and over 30 years since the first AIDS case was diagnosed in Selebi Phikwe in 1985.
Thus President Khama said Botswana had made great strides in the HIV response, adding that it was the first country to launch a public Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission Programme (PMTCT) and Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART).
He said it was also the first country to implement routine HIV and viral load testing, use optimised treatment regimens and now recently first country to be close to reaching UNAIDS 90 90 90 targets.
Through the strategy, President Khama said, Botswana was taking a bold step forward and might be able to save more than 118 000 people from being infected by HIV and prevent more than 54 000 HIV deaths by 2030.
"If we are successful with early treatment for all HIV positive patients, regardless of their immune status, we will gain an even more important goal of preventing anyone who is infected with HIV from becoming ill from HIV related conditions and suffering from this dreadful disease," he said.
President Khama expressed concern about the youth, whom he said mostly suffered from the highest infection rates and thus urged them to do all they could to prevent getting infected.
Again, he said it was time that youth were educated about benefits of annual HIV testing, behaviour change and HIV combination prevention.
He appreciated support of all partners including the US government, PEPFAR, Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator, European Union, Global Fund UN partners, Bill and Melinda Gates for suppo
Source : BOPA