October 20, 2003

HIV testing to become routine

Testing for HIV shall become routine in government facilities with effect from the beginning of the next calendar year, President Festus Mogae announced on Friday. "It is expected that all patients presenting with symptoms associated with HIV/AIDS will be routinely offered an HIV test with the opportunity to opt out should they so desire," Mogae said in a nation-wide broadcast. He said in order to ameliorate the effects of HIV/AIDS government has introduced programmes such as the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission Programme (PMTCT), the Anti-Retroviral Therapy and the Isoniazid Preventive Therapy. He emphasised that HIV testing would not be compulsory.

The president appealed to the nation to co-operate with the health care providers in public facilities for the transition from the current state to routine testing to be smooth and asked the private health care providers to consider introducing routine testing in their facilities, too. (Daily News online, Gaborone)

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