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Current leadership blamed for not prioritizing the disease

Assistant Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Dr Gloria Somolekae last week ‘dropped a bombshell’ as she revealed that 15 000 Batswana were being infected with HIV every year.

The figures which meant that 1250 people were getting infected every month  attracted a lot of attention on the social media with readers expressing their shock at the statistics and wondering where the country could be getting it wrong yet at one point it seemed to be winning in its efforts to curb the disease.

To get a feel of what could be the cause of the alarming prevalence rate, we spoke to four individuals who are directly and indirectly involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS and this is what they had to say:

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Executive Director of Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA), Uyapo Ndadi
“The figures cannot be fully trusted because people are not forthcoming when it comes to testing. It may turn out that the number of people who are HIV positive and living with AIDS is actually more. It is important for government to spend more now on the fight against HIV/AIDS to abate new infections. 

But for the whole campaign to work we need leadership, that is government ministers, judges, lawyers who are living with the virus or with AIDS to disclose their status. Such actions and determination will definitely reduce stigma, people will begin to see HIV as a normal condition and stop being bitter or vengeful. It’s a pity though that our leaders lack credibility because of the many stories about their infidelity, they don’t walk the talk! They do not have the moral authority.”

Dr Habaudi Hobona a private medical practitioner and shadow health minister for the Botswana Congress Party (BCP)

DR HOBONA

“Government’s commitment to HIV/AIDS is questionable. If these figures are indeed true then this is quite alarming. In order to win this fight we need to know the areas with these high prevalence rates and direct resources to them.  We need communities to own the HIV testing systems and local clinics to have their own statistics on HIV/AIDS. 
If government has to spend more to stop the high infection rate, let be so. Disease prevention is the strategy, let’s do it now.
However it is also no secret that the level of commitment among leaders has weaned.  It’s  the responsibility of leaders to talk about HIV/AIDS at every opportunity they get but that is not happening as they are pretending as HIV/AIDS does not exist anymore.”

Batho Chris Molomo, Executive Secretary of the Champions Secretariat
“If we were to do more of safe male circumcisions, do away with multiple concurrent partners and advocate more for behavior change the rate of infection would be a lot lower than what it is. 
We lack leadership to champion the prevention of HIV/AIDS. Leadership at all levels must spearhead and talk prevention at all times because it seems people want to be reminded at all times that HIV is still.”

Dr Refeletswe Lebelonyane, Director of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care in the Ministry of Health
“People are probably alarmed by the figures but prevalence rate is the number of people who are living with HIV/AIDS and it currently stands at 17.6 per cent. Due to treatment this figure will remain high, remember people with the virus are living longer compared to when there was no treatment.
However we would be worried when we carry out the next survey and find that the prevalence rate has jumped and the percentage has increased. 
But in order to keep the rate low we are targeting and encouraging  people to make use of safe male circumcision (SMC), Prevention of  Mother to Child Transmission(PMCTT) and Anti Retroviral Treatment(ARVs) and calling for behavior change in order to reduce new infections. 
Government’s budget on HIV/AIDS is huge because we are spending more on treatment which is expensive. 
If we managed  not to get new infections the budget on treatment would decrease leaving us with more money for behavior change and prevention programmes.”

Batho Chris Molomo, Executive Secretary of the Champions Secretariat
“If we were to do more of safe male circumcisions, do away with multiple concurrent partners and advocate more for behavior change the rate of infection would be a lot lower than what it is.  We lack leadership to champion the prevention of HIV/AIDS. Leadership at all levels must spearhead and talk prevention at all times because it seems people want to be reminded at all times that HIV is still.”

Statistics on HIV/AIDS in the country as according to the National AIDS Co-ordinating Agency (NACA).

  • Botswana’s  population – 2  038 228
  • National HIV prevalence – 17.6%
  • Estimated number of people living with HIV:  301 807
  • HIV prevalence  among pregnant women aged 35-39 years: 52.3 %
  • HIV prevalence amongst the youth aged between 15-19 years  is 3.7%
  • Over 96% of children born with HIV positive mothers are born HIV free
  • Number of people receiving treatment : 196 093 against an estimated 201 827

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4 Responses to “AIDS STATISTICS SHOCK”

  1. Lerebele 2012/10/30

    not nice story at all. But Ndadi and respective doctors. lare ke mang yoo rileng circumcision has been scientifically proven to reduce HIV infectionsa. Cant let the less informed Minister and Vee go around spreading unproven stories. the 3 Studies in conducted in Uganada, SA and Kenya tse go ikaegilweng ka tsone have been shown to been biased and had lots flaws. So why continue promoting risky behaviou and you guys are just keeping quiet le sa bue ka kgang ya teng yet you represent fight against HIV AIDS. Better start taking this safe male circumcison to scrutiny. I am shocked ka Batho Molomo are safe male circumcison should be promoted. thats real shocker mate. you shud be protecting the public and stop misleading with bias statements.

    Please offer Frank and fearless advice for best interest of public.

  2. Neo Rantsia(MMASETENSE) 2012/11/01

    This is really shocking,,nna re setse reta tshaba le gotwe ema ha.

  3. rodney.denzel 2012/11/04

    We missing some points l think, government of Botswana has done a lot, the condoms are there free to just pick and use, ARVS are there to use, when people cohabit and sleep together without condoms what do you want government to do, people must know that we reap what we sow, if we commit fornication and adultery what do you expect the end result will be.These are results of immorality in a society, people hate the president for putting levies on alcohol to protect the lives of Batswana, circumcision and condoms are not solutions..ABSTINANCE,OBEYING GOD’LAW will rescue the situation anything outside that is just sinking sand.People live like animals, they just sleep around ..Where are our moral values…As long as we live out side the Lord’s statutes and laws there is no safety.. ABSTAIN, STICK TO ONE PARTNER, NO PREMARITAL SEX, NO FORNICATION NO ADULTERY..WE CAN ARREST AND RESCUE THE SITUATION AND STOP BLAMING GOVERNMENT..GOD HELP US AND WE COME BACK TO OUR SENSES…THE BIBLE AND THE BIBLE ALONE AND OBEDIENCE TO GOD’S LAWS WILL RETURN US TO THE RIGHT MORAL STANDARDS..AS FOR ME AND MY FAMILY WE SHALL SERVE THE LORD IN TRUTH AND IN PURITY..

  4. Coco 2012/11/07

    I am sincerely traumatized.

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