The Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Michel Sidibe, will this week pay his first official visit to Botswana, a government Press Release said.
The two day visit effecting from February 17 ending February 18 will be his first since he became head of UNAIDS last year (2009) January.
Through the visit, Sidibe intends to gain better understanding and appreciation on the progress Botswana has made in the response to HIV/AIDS. He also seeks to explore areas for strengthened collaboration with the government of Botswana and other partners.
During the visit, he will meet with High Level Political Leaders, Senior Government Officials, Civil Society Organizations, Development Partners and the Media to exchange views on strategies to accelerate efforts to curb new HIV infections and mitigate the impacts of the epidemic as well as to ensure the sustainability of financing for the HIV response.
Highlights of the Executive Director’s visit will include a tour of a
Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) Clinic and the Kgothatso House, a community based HIV programme based in Gaborone, West Phase I.
The Executive Director is convinced that with acceleration of HIV prevention, Africa can enter a new era-where fewer people are becoming infected with HIV than going on treatment. “When this happens we will have broken the trajectory of the epidemic,” he said in a recent speech.
Sidibe, believes that for universal access to HIV prevention, treatment,
care and support to be achieved, sexual transmission of HIV should be reduced and ensuring that people already infected receive treatment, mothers should be prevented from dying while babies are prevented from getting HIV.
Also, he believes that punitive laws, policies and practices should be revoked and that violence against women and girls should be stopped.
Sidib├® has been at the helm of UNAIDS since 1 January 2009. Before joining UNAIDS, he spent more than 25 years in public service. He began his career in global health and development when he became concerned with the health and welfare of the nomadic Tuareg people in the Timbuktu region of his native Mali.
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, UNAIDS, is the main advocate for global action on the epidemic.
Started in 1996, it leads, strengthens and supports an expanded response aimed at preventing transmission of HIV, providing care and support, reducing the vulnerability of individuals and communities to HIV, and alleviating the impact of the epidemic.