Aging and the Botswana HIV and AIDS epidemic: Factors associated with HIV testing and counselling among older persons

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Kamogelo Davids-Matebekwane


Since its inception in 2002, Botswana’s Masa antiretroviral treatment programme has contributed significantly to the reduction of HIV related mortality in Batswana. This implies that as more people were enrolled in the treatment, HIV positive individuals were surviving longer, resulting in the high number of older persons living with HIV over the years. However, older people still remain at risk of being infected. In light of the ageing population, it is important to understand the prevalence and characteristics of HIV infection among older adults in Botswana. This paper explores factors associated with HIV testing and counselling service utilization among older persons aged 50 years to discover relevant interventions that could cater for their needs and ultimately curb infections for more years. The paper utilized data from the Botswana AIDS Impact Survey (BAIS IV) conducted in 2013, which was a cross-sectional survey conducted on a nationally representative sample of 8,275 households drawn systematically for the study. Descriptive statistics was computed to examine the association of each independent variable with the dependent variable. The findings of the study indicate that 77.8% of the respondents had tested for HIV and 84.7% of respondents had knowledge about HIV at the time of the study. According to the results, HIV related knowledge, educational level and sexual behaviour were the major factors influencing HIV testing service utilization among older adults in Botswana. It is recommended that studies on older adults living with HIV be conducted to better understand the relationship between aging with the AIDS epidemic and its impact in different contexts in order to develop and implement targeted prevention and care programmes.

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