US gives Malawi $75m to help battle HIV/Aids

The United States has donated $75 million to Malawi to help battle HIV/Aids.

The US government said in a statement made available to Nyasa Times by the United States Office of the Global Aids Coordinator (OGAC) that Malawi will use the aid for programs in 2013-14.

The donation, according to the statement, came just two days before Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on November 29 unveiled a game plan for achieving a global “AIDS-free generation,” committing the United States to rapidly scaling up medical interventions that are beating back what once was seen as an unconquerable disease.

Unites States PEPFAR program, launched by former President George W. Bush in 2003, has been a catalyst for advancing HIV treatment, particularly in Africa.

This is the fourth year in a row that Malawi has received an increase in funding in what the US said is “ evidence” to its  commitment to Malawi’s national response to address HIV/AIDS.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: Her roadmap to Aids-free generation has Malawi in it , hence support to h Malawi’s President Joyce Banda’s government. The two met this year at the State House in Lilongwe

“The announcement of the funding recognized the achievements and success of the HIV program in Malawi as led by the Government of Malawi along with the US agencies implementing PEPFAR programs – USAID, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Peace Corps, the State Department and the Department of Defense,” the statement said.

“One unique achievement has been in the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV/AIDS and successful implementation of the Option B+ program. Malawi is the first country to pilot the Option B+ approach whereby all HIV positive pregnant and breastfeeding women have access to lifetime treatment, which will increase their chance of survival and also that of her unborn child.”

The statement adds that “in 2012, PEPFAR provided funding so that more than 18,000 pregnant women began treatment for HIV.”

Clinton defined an AIDS-free generation as one where virtually no children are born with HIV; where, as these children become teenagers and adults, they are at far lower risk of becoming infected than they would be today; and where those who do acquire HIV have access to treatment that helps prevent them from developing AIDS and passing the virus on to others.

The new PEPFAR blueprint aims to accelerate the fight by scaling up both drug treatment and new strategies for combating the spread of AIDS including voluntary male circumcision, microbicide gels and interventions to stop pregnant women from passing the virus on to their unborn children.

It also includes a greater emphasis on marginalized populations most at risk for HIV, including injecting drug users, sex workers and men who have sex with men, as well as turning over more responsibility for management and oversight to recipient countries.

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