The Botswana government began providing free antiretroviral therapy (ART) in 2002 and in 2004 introduced routine HIV testing (RHT) in government health facilities, aiming to increase HIV testing and uptake of ART. There have been concerns that the RHT programme might be coercive, lead to increased partner violence, and drive people away from government health services.
CIET conducted a household survey of 1536 people in a stratified random sample of communities across Botswana, asking about use and experience of government health services, views about RHT, views about ART, and testing for HIV in the previous 12 months. Focus groups further discussed issues about ART.
Public awareness and approval of RHT was very high. The high rate of RHT has contributed to the overall high rate of HIV testing. The government’s programme to increase HIV testing and uptake of ART is apparently working well. However, turning the tide of the epidemic will also require further concerted efforts to reduce the rate of new HIV infections.
See: Cockcroft A, Andersson N, Milne D, Mokoena T, Masisi M. Community views about routine HIV testing and antiretroviral treatment in Botswana: signs of progress from a cross sectional study. BMC International Health and Human Rights,
2007, 7:5. Available from: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-698X/7/5