Despite the government spending millions of pula in HIV/AIDS prevention programmes, new infections continue to be recorded throughout the country.
And besides the new infections, some people who are already living with the virus still don’t adhere to treatment regardless of information being disseminated on the importance of sticking to the treatment programme.
Speaking during a press briefing recently, Public Health Director, Shenaaz El Halabi said: “This is a great concern because it appears as though people are far from changing their attitudes towards HIV/AIDS. The government also incurs unnecessary costs due to this irresponsible behaviour and lack of accountability at individual level,” she said.
She also said increased treatment costs due to medication switch as a result of lack of adherence, late testing and enrolment into the free treatment programme at a later stage are some of the factors that contribute to unnecessary costs.
Halabi however urged the media to continue raising public awareness of HIV/AIDS and related issues
“The media should fulfil its role, not just as a watchdog but a key partner and opinion leader,” said Halabi
The objective of the briefing was to sensitize media and other stakeholder on HIV/AIDS prevention and programmes.
Meanwhile caregiver, Malebogo Diboko, commended the government on its efforts to alleviate the epidemic but said measures taken will not work if people are not willing to change their behaviours.
She went on to say couples should test together and make sure they maintain their status as it is in order to reduce prevalence of HIV.
“I discovered I was HIV positive three years ago and I urged my partner to go for testing and it turned out we are both positive. So I encourage others to go for testing together and support each other even if the other party is negative. That positive attitude will help you live positively and will reduce the spread of the virus,” Diboko said.