Minister of Health and Population Services Atupele Muluzi has taken an HIV test to highlight the need for people to know their status and help the fight to save lives.
As World Aids Day is commemorate don Saturday December 1, Muluzi on Friday become exemplary by conducting self HIV testing whose results were made public in the National Assembly before fellow Members of Parliament.
Muluzi had carried on the testing soon after communicating details of the 2018 World Aids Day Commemoration.
Herequested Minister of Land, Dr Jean Kalirani – a medical doctor by profession – to announce the results in public. And results showed he is HIV negative.
This year’s World AIDS Day theme, “Know your status”, focusses on the importance of HIV testing as a gateway to HIV prevention and treatment.
The minister said, while Malawi joins the international community in the 30th anniversary about 1.8 million people in Malawi are living with the virus after they tested positive.
He announced that the country is making tremendous strides in the HIV and Aids fight.
Muluzi said the World Aids Day theme in Malawi has been localised to, “HIV Self-testing is possible; Know your status”.
He said athe self-testing kit could help stop new infections and unnecessary deaths.
“Mr Speaker Sir, Honourable members, allow me to provide some basic information about HIV Self testing. HIV self-testing is a process in which a person collects his or her own specimen of saliva from the mouth which is then added to the test kit for a result that takes just a few minutes. Malawi is only distributing self-test kits that are WHO accredited,” said Minister Muluzi.
Muluzi ecplained that if the result is positive, the person should then seek a further test at one of the many test facilities to confirm the result.
If the result of the self-test is negative, no further action is required unless the individual has had a recent HIV exposure or faces an ongoing high risk of HIV infection.
“In these cases, repeat testing should be considered after 3 months from potential exposure. Some people may want to perform the self-test alone, in private. Others may want to use the self-test with a person they trust, such as family member or friend,” he said.
Muluzi said not everyone has to self-test.
“Someone who cannot perform the self-test or is having difficulty can visit a local facility, testing centre or community HIV support group that can help them. Talking with a community member who has self-tested might also help those who are concerned or find the process challenging,” he said.
Muluzi said for those who are already receiving antiretroviral therapy, they should not use a self-test kit.
“ It might give a false negative result because of the effects of the treatment. Our intent is to try and establish HIV testing as socially acceptable as malaria testing.
“Simply a key step in maintaining your health and that of your family. For too long the notion of HIV testing has held a social stigma that has deterred individuals from knowing their HIV status,” he said.
Malawi government through the Ministry of Health and Population together with a number of key stakeholders is launchin HIV Self testing on World Aids Day at the Jenda Trading Centre in Mzimba District.
HIV, which stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, is a virus that damages the cells in the immune system which protects our bodies from fighting infection.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :