Botswana is perhaps one of the worst AIDS affected countries in the world, with an infection rate of 35%. The Government has promised free treatment to all those who were in need of it. The total number of AIDS infected people in the country amounts to 110,000 people. The country is badly in need of anti-retroviral medicines which serve to prolong life, without which the entire nation will be destroyed socially and economically.
The cost of the medication involved for prolonging life is quite high and out of reach of most people in the developing countries. Botswana is a reasonably rich country as a result of its diamond resources, and over 90% of the cost of treatment is being borne by the Government. Pharmaceutical firms and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are also doing their bit in helping the country.
The sub-Saharan Africa Region alone accounted for 2.4mn AIDS deaths in 2005, according to UN data. The life expectancy in Botswana is only 39 years. A total of 40 million people across the world are HIV positive, with the African Continent accounting for 60% of it. According to an UNAIDS report, as many as 5 million people across the world were infected with the disease in 2005 alone, with about 3 million deaths, with Sub-Saharan Africa accounting for 2.5 million deaths.
This is resulting in healthcare absorbing much of the money meant for developmental activities. About 32 sites across the nation cater to 52,000 patients free of cost, resulting in bedridden people being able to go back to work. Support groups and churches are also contributing towards the efforts of the Government. The Princess Marina Hospital alone treats over 12,500 people. In spite of this there are instances wherein patients stop taking the drugs as soon as they start feeling better. Some of the other countries where the HIV prevalence rates are very high are Lesotho, South Africa, India, and Swaziland.
Using the Prevention of the Mother to Child Transmission (PMTC) therapy will contribute towards bringing down the rates. Alcohol abuse is also reported to be contributing towards the disease spreading. The African Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Partnerships (ACHAP) supported Masa Programme is contributing significantly towards checking the spread of this disease, and also providing clinical care for those who are already afflicted with it.