The O Icheke Campaign, Botswana: A National Multi-level Communication Program to Reduce Multiple and Concurrent Partnerships
The Republic of Botswana has recognized the practice of having two or more sexual partners during the same period -- multiple concurrent partnerships, or MCP -- as a key driver of HIV transmission. The government's "National Operational Plan for Scaling Up HIV Prevention in Botswana, 2008-2010" calls for a multi-year behavior change campaign, with MCP identified as its initial focus. Thus, the Government of Botswana adopted “O Icheke—Break the Chain” as the name for its new national campaign to address MCP with a multifaceted strategy and strong national leadership. Few countries have attempted to implement a truly national campaign driven by government agencies and existing regional and community organizations to roll-out activities at the community level. The stakes are high: O Icheke is seen as key to achieving Botswana’s long-term goal of zero new HIV infections by 2016.