UN envoy on HIV/AIDS in Africa visits project in disease-ravaged Botswana

13 June 2001

Secretary-General Kofi Annan's special envoy on HIV/AIDS in Africa completed today a visit to one of the countries worst-hit by the epidemic - Botswana - where he witnessed efforts to halt the infection's spread.

On the last day of his four-day visit to Botswana, Stephen Lewis visited a project supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on the outskirts of Gabarone for young women formerly engaged in the commercial sex trade.

Mr. Lewis said he was particularly impressed with the level of awareness of Botswanan women about the epidemic and their involvement at all levels - from caregivers to policy makers.

While in the country, he met with a number of senior officials, including the President, Festus Mogae, and the Health Minister, Joy Phumaphi.

The UN estimates that the AIDS prevalence rate in Botswana stands at 36 per cent. If this trend is not reversed, over three quarters of today's 15-year olds will die from the disease.


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