HIV infection among Botswana mothers said going down

Gaborone- Botswana (PANA) -- A report by Botswana's Parliamentary select Committee has revealed that HIV/AIDS prevalence among young mothers is stabilising and even declining in the country.
"Analysis on age specific prevalence suggest that overall HIV prevalence rate among young mothers (15-49 years) is stabilising and coming down," said the report presented to national legislature.
On the other hand, HIV prevalence is going up among the elderly, the Committee said, adding that this is expected since age group transition happens before full-blown AIDS and subsequent deaths occur.
The Committee chaired by Kgalagadi MP and former Health Minister Lesedi Mothibamele found that there is a general impression after a survey last year that the prevalence rate is rising in rural areas, but stabilising in urban settlements.
It said the prevalence rate in most major urban centres including the capital Gaborone has not gone up.
The remote Chobe district in the north is the most afflicted with 50 percent of pregnant mothers testing HIV positive.
The Committee recommended that men must actively participate in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Botswana, which is reputed to have the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in the world.
It stressed the need for a vigorous campaign to improve moral standards such as adherence to the principles of abstinence, sticking to one partner and being faithful.
The Committee also called for voluntary HIV testing to enable the government to establish the magnitude of the epidemic in the country and respond accordingly.
NGOs dealing with HIV/AIDS in Botswana should also be investigated to ascertain their legitimacy as some could merely be cashing in on the problem.
The Committee urged the government to explore the possibility of opening the country's border posts for 24 hours to avoid stop-overs by long distance truck drivers coming from outside Botswana.
It is generally believed that this high-risk group helps the spread of the pandemic.

27 june 2001 21:32:00

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