Preliminary results for Thyolo district reveal that the district has registered 94 percent HIV negative cases of the 17,131 people that were tested in the just ended national HIV Testing and Counseling (HTC) week.
Thyolo District Health Officer, Dr. Andrew Likaka revealed this to the Malawi News Agency on the sidelines of the district’s launch of this year’s Exclusive Breast Feeding Week.
Likaka said the number of people that came for tests far exceeded the initial 12,000 which the district planned to reach out and with extraordinary improvements on the results.
“We had planned to test 12,000 people, but the number increased to 17,143 due to the overwhelming response from the people. The preliminary results indicate that out of those tested; only 972 people were positive. So far the results are indicating a positive development,” said Likaka.
Likaka added that good publicity, involvement of traditional leaders, huge support from partners working in the district and early preparations helped in increasing the number of people going for the tests.
He added, “We are glad that traditional leaders and partners are involved in this fight against HIV and now we have a lower prevalence rate and new infections are going down as well. Results from the 100 sites spread throughout the district have shown that people are taking the HIV and AIDS messages from us and other health partners seriously.”
Thyolo District Anti Retroviral Therapy (ART) and Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV (PMCT) Coordinator, Kingsley Mbewa told Mana on Friday that the district has seen tremendous improvements in the fight against HIV and AIDS due to the initiatives which are being implemented by government and other organizations working in the district such as Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF), World Vision and DAPP among others.
Mbewa said new initiatives such as the use of community groups which work to support each other to reduce cases of default for HIV/AIDS people taking ARVs, will further improve the fight.
Thyolo district was one of the districts that was hardest hit by HIV but achieved universal access to ARVs in 2008 with the help from MSF-Belgium and has since received several awards in ART management, the latest being for the first quarter of 2012.