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25% of Adults in Botswana Have HIV, But That Number May be Changing

25% of Adults in Botswana Have HIV, But That Number May be Changing


Botswana boasts one of the highest rates of adults with HIV in the world at a solid 25 percent. That total is just shy of the HIV-affected population in Swaziland, NPR reports. Those numbers may sound particularly dire and threatening, and they are, but the government in Botswana has also taken a stand against an increase in the number of new cases each year.

The government began a program in the early 2000s that addressed the high rate of infections and illnesses head on by offering everyone affected by HIV and AIDS with the necessary medication and treatment. Over the last 10 years, this program and the necessary medications have reached 95 percent of the people affected by HIV.

All of the medications are offered free of charge to anyone who has HIV and have been spread generously throughout the nation. The former president of this south central African nation, Festus Mogae, has been essential to implementing HIV prevention programs over the years.

NPR discusses the phenomenon of strong leadership on this issue:

In the early days of Mogae’s administration, roughly 40 percent of babies born to HIV-positive mothers also ended up infected with the virus.

Toomey, at the CDC, says the government set out to stop this.

“They aggressively addressed that through the treatment of mothers, treatment of babies, and brought the rates of mother-to-child transmission down to rates that we see in the industrialized world,” she says. “Stunning achievement.”

Now only four percent of babies born to HIV-positive mothers are born with the virus. In Botswana in 2009, more than 5,000 people died of AIDS. There were probably around 93,000 orphans living in Botswana who were orphaned due to the epidemic, according to UNAIDS.

Mogae has also pushed against decriminalizing homosexuality and sex work in the country. He remains an advocate for gay men and legalizing their relationships in Botswana in 2011, stating “These are citizens.” He has also insisted that people in prison need access to condoms in order to prevent more cases of the virus.

The most important aspect of this entire promotion of HIV treatment, available for the whole population, has been a decrease in the wide range of people who were direly ill. Many people in small villages were unable to work or contribute to the community because they were so unwell. With medications available for anyone with the virus, more citizens are able to function on a day-to-day basis.

UNAIDS has been one of many organizations that have worked with the Botswana government to ensure that the epidemic remains limited. NPR points out that this small nation does have a limited population, and a wealth of diamond deposits, both aspects of the country that give the government resources to check the spread of HIV.


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Photo of child orphaned by AIDS: jimcintosh

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3:33PM PST on Nov 5, 2012


2:04AM PDT on Jul 13, 2012

Darlene b's comment that aids doesn't exist is of course wrong, but she is right in regards to a lot of cases being misdiagnosed as AIDS including TB, heart disease and other pulmonary illnesses. Sometimes the numbers of the infected are also inflated in order to qualify for financial Aid.
Countries like this, even if they have natural resources, find it hard to exploit their own wealth as severe uncontrolled population reduction/illness has left them with not enough people to build and maintain their own infrastructures, leading to more collapses, financial and familial.

12:17AM PDT on Jul 13, 2012

Mogae sounds progressive in his vision for addressing AIDS in Botswana... I hope this can be a launching point for even more progress to be made in the worlds quest for a cure.

8:41PM PDT on Jul 12, 2012

We have started a free Herpes Dating personals website, strictly for Herpes singles. We founded the site after an immediate family member, explained to us how difficult it was to find love and friendship because of the stigmas attached to her condition. We want to help.... If you or someone you know is living with Herpes please come visit our site and add us as a friend!! You can find the herpes soulmates and friends here.

10:49AM PDT on Jul 12, 2012

@ Darlene B. So perhaps HIV doesn’t exist ? Then aren’t people dying from it ? And aren’t the drugs saving lives ? I am puzzkled.

7:32AM PDT on Jul 12, 2012

Don't believe me. Check it out yourself. When I did the research on HIV there is no definite proof that the virus exists! There are no photos of the virus in the purified state. The test for HIV is for anitbodies of HIV. For herpes there are 3 tests 1 for the virus itself, one for the proteins produced by the virus and 1 for the antibodies. The antibodies test is the least realiable! There is not a test for the HIV virus. Check it out. In Africa you can receive a diagnosis of HIV without the test! A diagnosis of HIV is based on 6 criteria - do the research. In AFrica only 2 criteria have to be present while in Canada 4 criteria have to be present to receive a diagnosis of HIV without the test. There are many false positives. Think of the money made by the drugs. Don't believe me - check it out. We live in monstrous times where the ignorant are abused and manipulated by false scientific claims. There are law suits about this false HIV test. Again check it out. There are good documentaries about this. I could give sources of this info but I have learned unless people want to know the truth they will not do the work it takes to learn the truth. This is a challenge to Care 2 to tell the WHOLE story about HIV.

2:36PM PDT on Jul 11, 2012

Amazing the impacts such changes in policies, which could be a model worth emulating by every other country that is not making such big headway in their fight (like the US?)

2:19PM PDT on Jul 11, 2012

That's horrifying

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