Pubdate: Thu, 22 Sep 2005
Source: Daily News, The (South Africa)
Copyright: 2005 The Daily News.
Author: Botswana Press Agency (BOPA)
Bookmark: (Youth)


GABORONE - Students are injecting themselves with dangerous drugs 
like Ecstasy, increasing their chances of HIV /AIDS infection.

Dr Geoffrey Tirelo, who is the ARV site manager with the Infectious 
Disease Care Clinic in Gaborone, said that this had been going on for 
some time and the society had not been alerted.

Speaking at the Botswana Society for the Deafs HIV/AIDS workshop, he 
said the fresh cases were a wake-up call for everybody to act.

There is a very big market for drugs such as marijuana and nowadays 
the injection drug seems to be the in-thing,said Tirelo.

He told BOPA that though it is not easy to get syringes, they are 
always available on the black market, where they could only buy one 
and share it amongst themselves, thus increasing the risk of infection.

Botswana with a population of 1.7 million, has a high number of its 
people living with the HIV/AIDS virus, according to the latest 
reported figures.

Tirelo also revealed that many children are born infected with HIV.He 
said there is a new intervention called Youth Against Alcohol and 
Drug Abuse (YADA) which is focusing on the youth by going around 
schools sensitising and dissuading them against drugs and drug abuse.

Tirelo told the participants that there are seven types of the HIV 
virus and that the one found in southern Africa is the Type C, which is deadly.

He said this type is very efficient, kills within a short period of 
time and never misses its target.

Tirelo told the participants that HIV/AIDS is for everyone whether 
you are deaf, blind or disabled and also does not discriminate 
between the rich and poor.

He said the deaf and everyone has the right to keep their status to 
themselves but it is advisable to always share their problems with 
their loved ones or relatives whom they feel close to.

Tirelo also advised them to avoid alcohol, and traditional doctors 
who prick and to always use their own hair clips and avoid sharing.

He urged them to be responsible enough to discipline themselves and 
always avoid temptation because little things can cost them their lives.

He assured the participants that ARV treatment is meant for all 
citizens and whoever contracts the disease should not be too ashamed 
to get the treatment to prolong their lives.

On the Masa PMTCT programme, Tirelo said its main aim is to prevent 
the virus from infecting the baby.

He encouraged the deaf that if they find themselves pregnant, they 
should register at their respective clinics so that they can be helped.

He indicated that about 97 per cent of babies born by positive 
mothers are negative, which shows that the programme is effective.

Tirelo encouraged the participants to learn to say NO and feel proud 
about it when they feel that they are not ready.

One of the participants, Naomi Rampete, said the main problem they 
face, as the deaf society is that they find partners who impregnate 
them and leave them with babies.

I may consider my self lucky because I dont have a child but you 
never know what will happen. Some of my friends have kids with normal 
people and they have long left them with babies to take care of, she said.

Asked how much she knows about the disease and the programmes, 
Rampete told BOPA that they are aware of everything and wished that 
workshops like this one could be held more regularly.
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MAP posted-by: Elizabeth Wehrman