The Director of Departmental Management Service of the Botswana Police Service has urged police officers to advise each other on the importance of undergoing a voluntary HIV/AIDS counseling and testing.
Addressing police officers during one-day workshop at Yarona Country Lodge, Senior Assistant Commissioner, Ikwatlhaeng Bagopi, said there is need for constant communication on various topics, including health at the work places.
“When you discuss and communicate amongst yourselves, then you might be able to advise each other to go for voluntary counseling and testing,” Mr Bagopi said. “This will assist in the early intervention on HIV/AIDS by way of enrolling on the anti-retroviral therapy before it is too late.”
Senior Assistant Commissioner Bagopi lamented that HIV/AIDS related deaths continue to claim more lives despite various intervention programmes meant to reduce these mortalities. He said some of these deaths are due to failure to utilize the available programmes.
The Director underscored that people should adopt a culture of routine testing for their own benefit. This, he reiterated, will assist in deciding which the course to take.
Bagopi noted that with the advent of ARV therapy, it is evident that HIV/AIDS is controllable and people can prolong their lives. He challenged officers to change their attitudes towards those infected with the virus and stop to discriminating against them.
The Senior Assistant Commissioner also said that people should learn to accept their health status. He observed that, at times, people become angry when they are advised to visit Tebelopele voluntary counseling and testing centers.
“Some even threaten to sue the advisers accusing them of infringing on their privacy and violating their constitutional rights,” he said. “Such advice demonstrates the love that people have for each other.”
On other issues, Mr. Bagopi challenged the participants to shun behaviours, traditions and cultures that encourage multiple sexual partners. He spoke against intergenerational sexual relationships calling it immoral.
The workshop drew participants from the Quarter Master Stores and the Human Resources Unit, both units under Police Headquarters and based at the old police college buildings at the Village, in Gaborone. It was also attended by civilian staff under these units.