Botswana-HIV-Youth

Botswana battles new HIV infections among adolescents

APA-Gaborone (Botswana)

Adolescents are the largest segment of Botswana's population affected by HIV despite the gains made by the country in the fight against the HIV and AIDS epidemic, an official said on Tuesday.

Speaking at an HIV and AIDS workshop, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health and Wellness Ruth Maphorisa said the high rate of new infections, especially among the youth, is a cause for concern for the Botswana authorities.

She said while the government has put a number of strategies to control the HIV and AIDS pandemic, statistics show that 65 percent of adolescents and young people are infected by HIV each week, a majority of these being girls.

“These statistics are disturbing as this age cohort constitutes 44 percent of the Botswana population,” Maphorisa said.

She said reducing new infections is a complex issue that requires continued education, expanded targeted testing and prompt access to treatment and retention for viral suppression.

“We must be ambitious and I am confident that by working together we can achieve this goal. This requires us to double our efforts as complacency has no room in carrying out our campaigns,” she said.

KO/jn/APA

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