Botswana president urges more efforts to end HIV/AIDS scourge

Source: Xinhua| 2018-12-01 22:35:05|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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GABORONE, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- Botswana's President Mokgweetsi Masisi on Saturday called for intensified efforts to end the scourge of HIV/AIDS.

In his keynote address to mark the 2018 World AIDS Day commemoration at Mochudi village, about 60 km outside the country's capital city Gaborone, Masisi said complacency is seemingly reversing the progress made in the fight against the deadly HIV/AIDS.

While there is so much to be grateful for, there is no doubt that complacency has crept in regarding the southern African country's efforts to fight the endemic disease, Masisi said.

"The fortitude that we showed in yester-years is slowly waning. And the time has now come to reinvigorate our programs and re-energize our individual capabilities to put an end to this scourge," said Masisi.

With Botswana's national HIV prevalence rate estimated at 18.5 percent, Botswana is ranked the third highest country globally after its Southern African Development Community (SADC) counterparts in Swaziland and Lesotho.

Furthermore, national HIV incidence rate is about 1.35 percent. New HIV infections in a country of a population of just over 2 million people are estimated to be fluctuating between 10,000 and 14,000 per annum.

According to Masisi, the situation is compounded by recent indications of a surge in new HIV infections, especially among the youth.

He said this challenges Batswana (citizens of Botswana) as a collective to reflect and interrogate that which the country is not doing right.

Masisi said the only indicator that would show that the country is heading the right direction would be the time when zero new infections start to be recorded.

To this end, Masisi urged Batswana to take time as individuals to introspect and be part of this fight so that the beautiful Botswana can be restored to an HIV-free country.