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Botswana: Infants can now be screened for HIV

Botswana has commissioned a programme to screen six-month-old infants for HIV. This infant HIV testing programme will focus on monitoring babies delivered from HIV infected// women. This programme has already met with success in 11 clinics and one hospital.

It is estimated that among the 1.7 million population in Botswana, the infection rate as depicted by the Botswana Aids Impact Survey stands at 17.7%. This makes Botswana infamous, portraying one of the world's highest rates of HIV.

Botswana has been able to make strides in HIV/AIDS initiatives due to the funding provided by United States and the local government. Antiretroviral drugs have been provided at no cost for the citizens of Botswana. The expectant HIV positive mothers can also avail drugs to inhibit the transmission of infection to their unborn children.

The novel infant screening mechanism will provide timely diagnosis, as early as six weeks after birth, for babies in the risk category, by using the DNA from dried blood samples. This opportune testing can lead to timely medical intervention and better management of the infection in children.

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