GABORONE, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- Botswana has recorded a 71 percent reduction in new HIV infections from 2001 to date, study has revealed.
Presenting the findings of the study to the media on Wednesday, Botswana's National AIDS Coordinating Agency (NACA) coordinator Richard Matlhare said the country has continued to record a downward trend in the number of new HIV infections. He said new infections have declined by more than 71 percent since year 2001.
He said the decline is attributed to various reasons including increased knowledge regarding the prevention of HIV transmission and increased condom use amongst people with multiple sexual partners.
"The findings of the study puts Botswana among the top countries in the world to have tackled successfully the issue of new infections of the deadly disease," Matlhare said.
According to the coordinator, the reduction is also a step in the right direction as the country has set itself a target to have zero (no) new infections by the year 2016, which is three years from now.
The findings of the study are encouraging as it shows that it would be practically possible for the country to reach its target, said Matlhare, adding that they are already putting in more measures to ensure that no new infections happen through public education and encouraging people to go for free HIV testing so that they know their statuses.
He said with increase in testing, more people will be eager to know their sex partners HIV status, thus reducing the occurrence of new infections.
Botswana was one of the world's hardest hit countries by the HIV/AIDS scourge in the mid 1990s to early 2000 as many people lost their lives due to the incurable disease.
The government however engaged in a massive fight against the disease, first providing drugs that prevented mother-child transmission, ensuring that HIV positive mothers can give birth to negative babies. Botswana would then become the first country to provide free Anti-Retro Vital (ARV) drugs to its citizens, significantly reducing AIDS mortality rate.