25 September 2017
Since launching the Treat All Strategy in 2016, Botswana is steadily making strides towards the achievement of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) targets. Speaking at a high level side event on "Fast Track: Quickening the Pace of Action to End AIDS" during the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Vice President, Mr Mokgweetsi Masisi said Botswana supported global efforts to reduce new HIV infections by 2020. The Vice President informed the audience that the introduction of the free antiretroviral programme in 2001, which was the first in Africa, had significantly reduced AIDS-related deaths in Botswana and Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission (PMTCT) programmes had notably reduced the number of babies born HIV positive.
But Mr Masisi acknowledged the challenges still faced by the country such as new infections only slightly dropping from 13,000 in 2010 to 10,000 in 2016, with key groups such as adolescent girls and young women carrying more than double the new HIV infections. "Government and other stakeholders are adopting a fast track approach to step up and revitilise HIV prevention through 'game changing' strategies that will bring the epidemic under control. These included targeted programmes for adolescent girls and young women and their male sexual partners, voluntary male circumcision and comprehensive condoms programming," Mr Masisi said.
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