Since the inception of behaviour change communications unit, interventions for the prevention of HIV/AIDS among the youth have always been in the centre of strategy formulation. Botswana is predominantly a youthful country with 63% of the total population aged between 10 – 29 years . This basically means that the vast majority of the 17.6% national HIV prevalence rate is mainly among the youth as reflected on the tables below.
|Estimated HIV Prevalence rate by Age and Gender (BAIS III, 2008)|
|HIV Prevalence Rate|
|Selected Indicators for the youth 15 - 24 Age Group|
|Estimated HIV prevalence||8.0|
|Estimated HIV incidence||1.91|
|Percentage who received an HIV test in the past 12 months and were informed of the results||30.2|
|Percentage who both correctly identify ways of preventing the sexual transmission of HIV and who reject major misconceptions about HIV transmission or prevention||42.1|
|Percentage who have had sex before the age of 15||3.5|
|Percentage who have had sex with a non-marital, non cohabiting partner in the last 12 months||38.6|
|Percentage reporting the use of condoms every-time they had sex with non-regular partners in the last 12 months||78.4|
|Proportion who cite having discussed HIV and AIDS with a family member over the past 4 weeks||7.0|
Through the collaboration of various stakeholders , a number of youth HIV/AIDS interventions have been put in place and implemented in Botswana. Organisations like UNFPA through AYA (African Youth Alliance) and BOTUSA have introduced various participatory methodologies for helping youth both in and out of school to learn about life planning skills. In addition, agencies like ACHAP, Family Health International (FHI), UNICEF/UN Family, BOFWA and others are continuing to help the Government of Botswana with technical assistance and other resources that can accelerate youth HIV/AIDS interventions. There are various youth organisations in the districts, which are specifically focused on youth interventions by youth themselves (YOHO groups, Basha Lesedi, CEYOHO and other support groups).
There are a number of youth health based documents in Botswana which include the national youth policy, national school health policy, national population policy, HIV/AIDS policy, youth surveillance report and others. The Ministry o f Health in collaboration with that of Youth Sports and Culture and other major stakeholders like UNICEF, FHI, Botswana national youth council , UNFPA and UNDP are working on development of a comprehensive youth strategy that will guide implementation of youth HIV/AIDS interventions from 2010 – 2016.
Youth as a special target niche in the prevention of HIV need special attention outside the general public service delivery system, hence the introduction of youth friendly services especially in the area of sexual reproductive health . these services have been put up to give youth space that is relevant to their needs , and a platform were they can express themselves freely without any barriers like age , and the respect of older service providers. This is to say jthat services at these centers tare rendered by young people.