Botswana Officials Meet To Discuss HIV Prevention Plan
Delegates from the northern part of Botswana met last week to discuss ways to implement an HIV prevention plan created by the National AIDS Coordinating Agency, Botswana's Mmegi reports. The plan is called National Operational Plan for Scaling Up HIV Prevention in Botswana: 2008-2010. Margaret Mosojane, Tati Town Customary Court president, said that despite efforts to curb the spread of HIV, more work is needed to be done to achieve the goal of zero cases of the disease by 2016.
Mosojane added that although the country has seen gains in the fight against HIV/AIDS, cultural and attitudinal issues remain that are "insurmountable," particularly women being forced to "succumb to the demands" of men. Mosojane said, "For as long as we have these problems, our gains will always be reversed."
According to Richard Matlhare, NACA's behavioral change communication consultant, HIV/AIDS prevalence among young people is declining, with an HIV prevalence of 17% recorded among people between ages 15 and 19 in 2007, compared with 32% in 1995. Matlhare said, "It is possible to have an HIV/AIDS free generation by 2016 by looking at the figures."
The prevention plan has a total budget of $102 million, of which a large portion likely will go toward communication, because NACA does not think enough has been done to promote HIV/AIDS awareness in the country (Ngakane, Mmegi, 7/10).