Botswana has set a target of circumcising 467,000 HIV negative males by the year 2016, the country’s Health Minister, John Seakgosing, said on Wednesday.
The circumcision would be part of the government’s effort to achieve the goal of zero new infections by 2016.
In his speech at the launch of the Safe Male Circumcision (SCM) in Francistown, Botswana’s second largest city, Mr. Seakgosing said the initiative was another strategy for HIV prevention.
Botswana is experiencing one of the most severe HIV/AIDS epidemics in the world with overall national prevalence rates of 17.6 per cent.
The national HIV prevalence rate among adults aged between 15 to 49 is 24.1 per cent, which was among the highest in sub-Saharan Africa.
Botswana however, has better infrastructure to test more of the population, which means that the level of contamination might be on par with other African nations, Botswana only having more reliable data.
Currently, Mr. Seakgosing said the coverage rate was 12.6 per cent explaining that the main aim was to reach 80 per cent by the year 2016.
He advised young people in Botswana to delay sexual activities until they were emotionally, sexually and physically active.
The minister also urged those on Anti-Retroviral (ARV) therapy to adhere to treatment saying that AIDS related deaths had reduced by 80 per cent, since the programme was introduced in Botswana at the turn of the millennium.