Botswana

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Despite intensive and aggressive HIV/AIDS prevention campaigns, Botswana continues to have one of the world’s highest rates of HIV/AIDS infection. Of the population age 18 months and older, 17.6% of the population was infected in 2008. The epidemic has a strong gender dimension, with HIV prevalence rates higher for females than males (20.4% compared to 14.2% respectively in 2008).[1] There has, however, been a decline in both the number of children under age 15 newly infected with HIV and the number of deaths due to advanced AIDS among this same age group.[2]

The status of women in Botswana is affected by the dual legal system, under which customary law is applied alongside common law. While reforms have been made to remove discriminatory provisions under the common law, discriminatory practices under customary law remain. Section 15 of the Constitution of Botswana provides the right to non-discrimination on the grounds of sex. However, this right does not apply to “adoption, marriage, divorce, burial, devolution of property on death or other matters of personal law.”[3]Botswana became a party to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in 1996 and has also acceded to the CEDAW Optional Protocol. 



[1] United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV and AIDS (UNGASS) (2012), p. 8 [2] United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV and AIDS (UNGASS) (2012), p. 8 [3] Section 15, Constitution of Botswana 1966
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