Children’s Center Aims To Promote Home-Based HIV Testing Among Youth in Botswana
The Botswana-Baylor Children's Clinical Center of Excellence recently provided home-based HIV tests to orphans and vulnerable children, as well as their parents and caretakers, in Gaborone, Botswana, the Mmegi reports. According to a survey conducted in 2006 by the center's outreach program, home-based HIV tests are widely accepted and practical in Botswana.
The survey was conducted among adults who had received a home-based HIV test from the center's community outreach program. The survey, which aimed to examine feelings about the test, found that over 28% of participants said they would not have undergone an HIV test if the team had not visited their homes.
Gabriel Anabwani, executive director of the center's community outreach project, on Sunday said that in an effort to bring HIV testing to more children in the community, the team targeted 1,000 orphans and vulnerable children, as well as their parents and caretakers. According to the Mmegi, the team partnered with community-based organizations -- including Bana ba Keletso, Tirisanyo Catholic Commission and Gabane Community Home-Based Care Society -- to reach the targeted population.
Anabwani said the majority of community members were willing to be tested. The team registered more than 1,000 people and tested almost 700 for HIV. Of those tested, 63% said they had not taken an HIV test before, and 97% said they would recommend home-based HIV testing to others. According to Anabwani, the number of children testing positive for HIV has been declining because of increased efforts to prevent mother-to-child transmission. He added that less than 5% of children tested by the center have tested HIV-positive. Anabwani said that adolescents remain the group's biggest challenge because they need extra care and support. He added that the center currently provides services to 551 HIV-positive children ages 10 to 19, but the number is expected to double within three years (Chwaane, Mmegi, 4/21).