AIDS-Related Deaths In Botswana Decreasing

Armen Hareyan's picture

Botswana President Festus Mogae on Monday during his State of theNation address to Parliament said while AIDS-related deaths havedecreased in the country, huge challenges still lay ahead, AFP/Yahoo! News reports (AFP/Yahoo! News, 11/6). According to UNAIDS,about 270,000 people are living with HIV/AIDS in Botswana, and 85% ofpeople in need of treatment receive drugs at no cost from thegovernment. The country hopes to halt all new HIV cases by 2016 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/23).


Botswanahas "made progress in reducing mother-to-child transmission from 40% to6%," Mogae said, adding that the "number of home-based care patientsalso reduced from 12,000 to 4,000, with more than 98% of pregnant womentested for HIV, and treating over 9,000 people out of the estimated100,000 people."

Mogae, who is to stand down next March, alsoacknowledged that the country still faces challenges, such asmaintaining a balanced budget. He added that "hars[h] punishment awaitsa nation that spends unwisely in pursuit of immediate gratification,rather than sustainable development."

"Whatever ourchallenges, and we have many, [Botswana] is a land of hope andpromise," Mogae said, adding, "We can say with pride and confidencethat our country is today a vibrant, competitive nation of opportunity"(AFP/Yahoo! News, 11/6).

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