Malawi reduces HIV/AIDS prevalence rate to 10 percent

Malawi continues recording success stories in response to HIV and AIDS with the latest being the drop in the national prevalence rate, according to a recent survey.

The survey, conducted by the country’s National AIDS Commission (NAC) and the Department of Nutrition and HIV/AIDS in the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) indicates the prevalence rate has this year dropped to 10.6 percent from 11.4 per cent in 2008.

According to statistics, the prevalence rate has dropped due to improved understanding of HIV and AIDS messages such as abstinence and consistent use of condoms, among others, by people.

The drop in the prevalence rate has also resulted in a sharp decline of HIV and AIDS related deaths in the country.

NAC boss Thomas Bisika: Remarkable progress in the fight against HIV/Aids
NAC boss Thomas Bisika: Remarkable progress in the fight against HIV/Aids

According to the survey executors, over the past few years about 80,000 people were tested HIV positive per year compared to this year (2013) when only 40,000 to 50,000 people tested positive.

However, they said in a document titled “The Status of HIV/AIDS Profile in Malawi”, the prevalence rate is still high in Southern Malawi at 14.5 percent against 7.6 and 6.6 percent for Central and Northern Regions respectively.

The document also says the prevalence rate is still higher among women, especially those with secondary education and above who are at 16.3 per cent.

But the prevalence rate for women with primary education and below stands at 14.1 percent.

NAC Board Chairperson Mala Kum’bweza-Banda described the news as very encouraging to the country.

He said the development confirms the country’s efforts in the fight against the pandemic and interventions being undertaken.

The news has, without doubt, also brought excitement to President Joyce Banda who was recently appointed by the Global Fund to champion for HIV/AIDS, TB and Malawi in Africa.

So far, over 7 million people in Malawi have been tested for HIV and received their results with almost half a million of those tested positive being put on life prolonging medication.

By July 1, 2013, the country completed the transitioning to a better treatment regime as recommended by World Health Organization (WHO).

Malawi Government is also putting all HIV positive pregnant women on treatment irrespective of their CD 4 count, an intervention called Option B+.

Last month, President Banda said during the up scaling of HIV and AIDS programs for her Joyce Banda Foundation International (JBFI) she would lead the fight against HIV and AIDS pandemic which has claimed lives of many Malawians and continue affecting masses.

The Joyce Banda Foundation International partnered with the National AIDS Commission to address HIV and AIDS among the vulnerable groups.

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