Youth unemployment and HIV and AIDS: Insights from the 2013 Botswana AIDS Impact Survey

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Refilwe Sinkamba
Tendani Moseki-Lowani


HIV and AIDS and youth unemployment are still a major concern for Botswana despite interventions by stakeholders and a number of programmes put in place by the government. The current prevalence rate of HIV in Botswana is 18.5 % (BAIS IV of 2013) which is a significant increase from 17.6 % in the BAIS III survey conducted in 2008. While many programmes and policies were designed to address young people’s needs, many fail to take into account the diverse circumstances that shape HIV vulnerabilities of the unemployed youth. Results from the BAIS results show that there is a direct relationship between the HIV prevalence and unemployment among the youth. Young people who are HIV positive may be unemployed due to stigma as well as opportunistic diseases that weaken their immune system and render them unable to function normally. But unemployment may also lead to young people engaging in high risk sexual behaviours that expose them and others to the virus. Youth employment initiatives can mitigate the impact of HIV and poverty on young people. 

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