Female musicians in Malawi are exposed to numerous threats of HIV due to lack of proper awareness of the disease, the National Aids Commission (NAC) has said.
Owen Banda, NAC partnership and liaison manager made the observation on the sidelines of a two day Capacity Building workshop organised for female circular and gospel musicians in Blantyre aimed at drilling the artists on HIV and Aids nutrition, policy, strategic Plan, condom strategy and Gender.
Banda said studies have shown that unlike in the past, the HIV virus is more prevalent among affluent people and that the musicians can form an effective tool that can influence behaviour change though music compositions.
“HIV infections are now increasing among the elite compared to the time when rural areas were regarded as hot spots for the diseases and mostly female musicians meet this class of people in entertainment places so through their music they can ably reach out to them,” said Banda.
Asked to describe the extent of HIV infections among female musician, Banda conceded that Malawi does not have the data hence the need to ascertain the same.
“The country keeps losing musicians to Aids due to luck of knowledge and their exposure to disease risks that make them prone to infection as they are exposed to various classes of people.
“On the other hand the workshop agreed that a study be carried out to find out the extent of HIV infections among musicians so that proper interventions can be mapped out to deal with the vice,” Banda explained.
Martha Mituka, president of the women’s desk for Musicians Association of Malawi (MAM) hailed the workshop as an eye opener saying it has ignited thoughts of behaviour change among women musicians and take up responsibility of informing others about the disease.
“As women musicians we are supposed to live an exemplary life and be mindful of Aids effects. Aids kills many people hence the need for artists regardless of gender to look after themselves and speared the message through music,” said Mituka who expressed satisfaction with the training, however lamenting its duration saying two days were not enough.
A total of 40 musicians from the whole country benefited from the training which was hailed separately in Blantyre and Salima.