Botswana downplays AIDS to boost testing:
This article was originally published in Clinica
Botswana hopes to increase voluntary testing for HIV by lowering the profile of its AIDS campaign, in the belief that making the test more routine will lower the stigma attached to it. The measure follows concerns at the poor turnout for AIDS testing since the government made the groundbreaking announcement that it was providing free anti-retroviral treatment. Despite that offer, far fewer tests had been performed than expected - some 70,000 by mid-2003 - and of the country's 1.6 million inhabitants only 23,000 are enrolled for treatment, in the public and private sectors, according to The Economist. The new policy is to test patients routinely whenever they visit a doctor, rather than involve a formal process of requesting a test and undergoing counselling prior to it.