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FHI 360 plays a lead role in new study on key populations in Botswana

January 03, 2014

The Government of Botswana recently released its first national study on HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and associated risk behaviors among key populations, primarily female sex workers and men who have sex with men.

The report, 2012 Mapping, Size Estimation & Behavioral and Biological Surveillance Survey (BBSS) of HIV/STI among Select High-Risk Sub-Populations in Botswana, provides important insights on how key populations relate to Botswana’s generalized epidemic.

The study surveyed female sex workers and men who have sex with men in three districts of Botswana — Francistown, Gaborone and Kasane — and found that certain groups may contribute disproportionately to new HIV infections. The HIV prevalence rate was 61.9 percent among the estimated 4,000 female sex workers in the three districts. In comparison, according to the most recent statistics, the national HIV prevalence rate was 17.6 percent in 2008 (National AIDS Coordinating Agency).

Results from the study highlight the importance of targeting key populations with more effective HIV and STI services, particularly if Botswana is to reach its national goal of zero new HIV infections by 2016.

FHI 360 served as the lead technical partner to the Botswana Ministry of Health and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) on the two-year study.