2017 District Candlelight Memorial: Salima District eager to attain zero HIV prevalence 

Authorities in Salima district have expressed hope during their 2017 District Candlelight Memorial that they would manage to eradicate spread of HIV in few years time.

Aids candlelight walk

Richard Chiunjiza Nthala, Salima District Council Chairperson said during the event held on Friday at Kazembe full Primary school in the area of T/A Kuluunda, that having reduced HIV prevalence in the district in the past 12 years to 3 percent to 9 percent is a positive signal that the district can manage stop registering cases of new HIV infection.

“The Malawi Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) of 2015 and 2016 has shown that we have managed to reduce HIV prevalence from 9 percent in 2004 to 3 percent among the age group of 15 to 49.”

We have attained these positive gains because a lot of people on ARV treatment are correctly taking the medication and are also using some of the family planning methods particularly condoms to prevent the spread of the virus to their partner or from getting new infection.” said Nthala who disclosed that over 14 thousand people in Salima are on ARV treatment

He then said the district will continue with focus on disseminating messages to every corner of the district on importance of HIV testing and prevention and hoped that these interventions will bring down HIV prevalence further to zero.

“Please go for HIV test now.” he urged people during the memorial with assurance that those who will be tested HIV positive will immediately be on ARV treatment in order to ensure that they have good health and reduce spread of HIV

“Government will do anything to ensure that ARV’s are always available and free to allow those who need them to continue living a healthy life.” He further assured the gathering which brought together various faith leaders, chiefs and stakeholders in the HIV fight

However, Nthala underlined that effective collaboration among stakeholders involved in the HIV fight in the district is key to achieve the district vision of attaining to Zero HIV occurrence.

Responding to the call, Advocacy Coordinator of Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR), Fletcher Simwaka whose organisation is implementing Stephen Lewis project which work with people living with HIV in the district, agreed that to achieve an ambitious global HIV target of ending epidemic by 2030 “there is need to join hands with the rest of stakeholders.”

“We must be able to see and deal with factors that lead to transmission of HIV and most importantly be able to empower the vulnerable so that instead of falling prey to HIV transmission they should be able to support themselves and be able to enjoy their rights.” He added

The 2017 District Candlelight Memorial in Salima were held under the theme:  Ending AIDS together; Enhancing people living with HIV sector involvement.

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