New York Times Profiles Botswana’s Routine HIV Testing Policy
The New York Times on Monday profiled the routine HIV testing policy in Botswana, where nearly four in 10 adults are HIV-positive (LaFraniere, New York Times, 6/14). President Festus Mogae in October 2003 announced the HIV testing policy, which provides opt-out HIV tests as part of routine medical checkups in public and private clinics (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/11). Six months ago, fewer than one in 12 people in the country had taken the test; however, since implementing the policy, testing has quadrupled, according to Botswana's medical officials. Doctors are detecting the disease at earlier stages of infection, enabling them to both treat HIV-positive patients and prevent others from contracting the disease. The switch from the Western model of HIV testing -- which includes a confidential counseling session -- to routine voluntary testing is based on a "belated recognition" that the Western testing method is "not nearly aggressive enough" for a country with such high HIV prevalence, according to the Times (New York Times, 6/14). The complete article is available online.This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.