The American people are standing shoulder to shoulder with people across the world in supporting programmes that provide HIV and AIDS treatment, care and support services.
This was said by the American Ambassador to Botswana Michelle Gavin during a three day regional workshop meant to discuss care, support and treatment services for adolescents living with HIV.
One of the primary funding sources with which the United States Government supports these programmes is the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
She said that last year the programme provided life saving antiretroviral treatment for more than 3.9 million men, women and children worldwide and care and support services to nearly 13 million people.
“Even though these numbers are not giving us a specific figure for adolescents, it helps us to appreciate the support of the American people in providing treatment, care and support to others across the world that are infected and affected with HIV and AIDS.”
Gavin said the importance of providing treatment, care and support services does not however deter them from making HIV prevention a priority. She mentioned that last year they supported HIV testing and counselling for more than 9.8 million pregnant women.
“Having more children born HIV free means the number of HIV positive children who enter adolescence and ultimately adulthood will decrease.”
She added that strengthening prevention programmes that target adolescents is also critical as facts like how HIV is transmitted, which behaviours increase their risks and which protects them have to be known. The ambassador explained that the U.S Mission in Botswana focuses more on youth because Africa’s youthful population will in future set the agenda for governance, health and economic development in the region.