HIV Testing Services in Botswana
In Botswana, APC initiated data collection of HIV testing services using mobile phones to help identify risk factors associated with HIV, and to enable better screening. Clients who were tested had a median age of 29 years and 50 percent were women. Of the nearly 17,000 people tested, APC found that more women than men were testing positive— 8.7 percent compared to 6.9 percent. The positivity yield overall was 7.8 percent. The women who were self-employed and/or unemployed were found to have a higher rate of positive HIV tests.
The data also showed that youth and adolescents are at a higher risk for HIV infection. However, as seen in Graph 1, as education increased the number of positive tests decreased. Individuals with tertiary education were less likely to be infected with HIV than individuals with lower levels of education— 3.3 percent compared to 9.6 percent. The tertiary education group was the only group with no difference between men and women regarding the positivity yield.
Some professions appeared to be at a higher risk than others. Graph 2 shows that professions with the highest yield were construction workers, health workers, and engineers. People working in mining or tourism had the lowest yield at 2 percent.
Furthermore, the data revealed that sexual partners in Botswana who live together tend to have higher infection rates than those sexual partners who do not live together. Another important finding was that circumcision is still associated with lower risks of HIV infection compared to those who are not circumcised— 3.7 percent compared to 9.3 percent— and is particularly effective at a younger age.