Speaking during the World AIDS Day (WAD) commemoration in Mochudi on the 1st December 2018, President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi voiced discontent over the high national HIV prevalence rate, which he said stood at 18.5 percent, making Botswana the third most affected country globally. He noted that this was disturbing given that the country had a population of just over 2 million.
The President said the situation was worsened by the emergence of new infections especially among the youth, hence he called on everyone for behavioral change in order to curb the scourge. Further, he informed all to be aware of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, stroke, cancer and asthma, which he said are also posing a serious threat to our lives, thus advising regular check-ups for this ailments.
Dr Masisi’s words came in handy to the multitudes who thronged Mochudi at WAD commemorations. SB was well represented at this event as its representatives marched with the crowd form Old Spar mall to Old Show Grounds where activities of the day took place. SB team also had a stall to promote its products and services as well as sharing information pertaining to HIV/AIDS.
Meanwhile, according to 2013 BAIS IV Prevalence and Incidence Rate, an estimated population of 2,045,752 participants provided blood samples that were successfully tested and out of this number an estimated 943,500 participants were HIV negative while 213,518 tested positive, whereas an estimate of 10,329 participants were diagnosed with new infections.
Still in the same report figures shows that females had a relatively higher prevalence rate of 20.8 percent compared to 15.6 percent for males. The male and female patterns show differentia peaks, with women’s prevalence peaking (nearly 50.6 percent) at an earlier age (35-39) while that of males peaks to 43.8 percent in the 40-44 age group. For ages below 50 years, female prevalence was generally higher than male prevalence, while beyond age 50, male prevalence was higher.
Report figures also reveal that HIV prevalence amongst the married is higher among males (26.3%) compared to females (18.7%); and also higher among never married females (22.0%) compared to never married males (12.6%). Prevalence rates are similar for males and females in cohabiting/living together relationships (34%).
The 2013 BAIS IV HIV prevalence by district ranges from the lowest of 11.1 percent in Kgalagadi South to the highest of 27.5 percent in Selebi-Phikwe.
World AIDS Day is commemorated on 1st December every year since 1988. It is an international day dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection and mourning those who have died of the disease. The theme of this year WAD commemoration is ‘Know Your Status’.