Botswana: Mahalapye HIV Infections Highest Nationally

National anti-retroviral distribution programme in Botswana (file photo).

Maun — Statistics indicate that Mahalapye is leading in HIV infections at 33 per cent, followed by Hukuntsi, 23 per cent and Ngamiland with 17 per cent.

This was said by Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration Mr Nonofo Molefhi. when officially launching the month of prayer against HIV/AIDS in Maun recently.

Minister Molefhi said young people in the 15-49 age group accounted for more new infections. Other groups leading in HIV infections were same-sex men and women in the sex trade, he said. The new trend of HIV/AIDS infections, Mr Molefhi said, caused concern since young people were the future of the country, emphasising the need to intensify efforts to help save the youth.

The minister observed that progress made in reducing HIV/AIDS deaths over the years seems to have been reversed.

Mr Molefhi said the escalating prevalence and new infections presented the need for all stakeholders to do their best to end new HIV/AIDS infections by 2030.

Meanwhile, the minister has said government recognised the role of the church in the fight against HIV/AIDS noting that it was important for people to ask God to help them find a solution.

Nonetheless, he said people should be committed in their efforts before seeking divine intervention.

Citing challenges such as alcohol and drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, poor academic results and divorce currently besieging the country as those needing people's commitment.

Mr Molefhi noted some achievements in the fight against HIV/AIDS such as Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTC) at 1.5 per cent and the number of people adhering to Antiretroval (ARV) treatment.

He said government continued to prove its commitment to HIV/AIDS through the 'Treat All' initiative that allowed people who tested positive to immediately enroll for ARV treatment.

In his remarks, National HIV/AIDS Health and Promotion Agency (NAHPA) coordinator Mr Richard Matlhare said alarming HIV/AIDS statistics showed that the fight against the disease was far from being won.

Mr Matlhare said 370 000 people were living with HIV in the country while 50 per cent of women in the 35 age bracket also lived with the virus.

He said new HIV infections among young people was at 61 per cent.

What was worrisome, Mr Matlhare said, was the fact that about 44 per cent of young people aged 13-19 were engaging in multiple concurrent relationships.

Source : BOPA

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