|A I D S - U P D A T E|
Starting from this edition AIDS UPDATE is, after the short break, back in new style and many important informations. All health facilities, governmental organisations and NGO's are to submit thier articles for the following editions. The Final, challenge rests with us. Ultimately, our hope lies in understanding the centrality of the will to live, to stay together, to cope and survive at all levels - individual, families, communities, nations and internationally.
The first case of AIDS was diagnosed in Botswana in the year 1985. Since then the number of cases and infected individuals have continued to be reported from every corner of he country in increasingly large numbers.
1.0 Monitoring of the HIV/AIDS epidemic
The Ministry of Health through the AIDS/STD Unit has been monitoring the trends of the epidemic using several monitoring tools. The first tool the sentinel surveillance, which have been carried out annually since 1992 among pregrant women attending antenatal clinics, and among males attending STD clinics. Pregnant women seeking antenatal care are summed to represent the so called "general population" and in particular the sexually active (15-49) age group, whereas males with STD's are assumed to represent groupsat high risk of HIV infection, given the close association between STD's and HIV infection.
All together there are 14 sentinel sites of which 2 sites, namely Gaborone and Francistown, are permanent monitoring sites while other sites alternate every year. The sixth sentinel surveillance was concluded in early May this year.
The second monitoring tool is the routine reporting of confirmed AIDS cases and those with AIDS related signs and symptoms, which are reported by health institutions on regular basis to the AIDS/STD Unit. This system, although less accurate due to problems of undereporting, late reporting and possible under-diagnosis, is supplementary to the sentinel surveillance. The third monitoring tool is the monitoring of trends in youth sexual behaviour. The youth between 18-25 years of age in the areas where sentinel surveys have been conducted are interviewed to assess their knowledge on preventive practices and in addition their attitudes and sexual practices. These studies have been done annually since 1992 by SIAPAC - Africa on behalf of the AIDS/STD Unit.
What is world AIDS DAY? -It is the focus of annual efforts to raise public awareness of HIV/AIDS and drives at development of new and more effective actions against pandemic. Each year, there is a theme by which activities are based.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD's) are continued to be a major public health problem of great concern in Botswana. The STD's have become an issue of major concern because of their strong association in the acquisition and transmission of HIV. Botswana is one of the few developing countries in the world that has made very effective STD drugs and treatment available free of cost at all levels of the health care system. In order to improve peoples awareness on the significant role played by the conventional STD's and the STD Control Program launched a month long country wide STD awareness Campaign from 17 November 1997.
Men Sex and AIDS-A PILOT STUDY
MEN, SEX, and AIDS a pilot project is an idea initiated by the Norwegian Board of Health in collaboration with the AIDS/STD UNIT. The project is based on a similar project carried out in Norway in 1996 (MAN 96). Our aim is to promote sexually responsible behaviour through the use of dialogue. Prevention of sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS, is a complicated task especially if it is done through a psychological process of influencing behaviour. It is a slow process that requires faith and patience. Despite the fact that males may be the same throughout the world, different sexual behaviours that are influenced by their social environment and are unique to these areas. This project accommodated these differences and was designed to fit the social network of the people concerned. Men, Sex, and AIDS is focused on male and male sexuality, their behaviour regarding sex related matters, and the role they play in a sexual relationship.
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Last Updated: August, 1999