GABORONE Botswana (Xinhua) --
Botswana plans to eradicate
HIV by 2020, a decade earlier than a target set by the
United Nations, the African country’s health minister
continues to put strategies in place to fight the
HIV/AIDS pandemic in the country where the disease
continues to wreak havoc, killing thousands on a yearly
basis, said Dorcas Makgato, Minister of Health and
southern Africa, is experiencing one of the severest
HIV/AIDS epidemics in the world. In 2016, it had a HIV
prevalence rate of 21.9 percent among adults aged
between 15 to 49, the third highest in the world after
Lesotho and Swaziland, and has a population of around
360,000 living with HIV, according to the Joint United
Nations Program on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS).
making a lot of investments into fighting HIV/AIDS,”
said Makgato during the relaunch of a campaign aimed at
addressing HIV issues in Francistown in east Botswana.
“Our aim is
to eradicate the endemic by 2020. We believe fervently
that this project has tremendous potential for the youth
of Botswana,” she added.
Botswana has been significantly proactive in combating
the epidemic. Under the leadership of former President
Festus Mogae, Botswana introduced a program in 1999 to
prevent mother-to-child transmissions.
On June 3,
2016, Botswana adopted the Treat All strategy to provide
antiretroviral therapy to people living with HIV, as
part of an intensifying fight against the disease.
threatens many developmental gains Botswana has achieved
since its independence in 1966, including economic
growth, political stability, a rise in life expectancy,
and the establishment of functioning public educational
and health care systems.