AHL Group, formerly Auction Holdings Limited, has embarked on trainings to equip tobacco farmers in the Northern Region with HIV and Aids messages as one way of dealing with the pandemic.
Farmers are considered to be prone to the virus as most of them engage in multiple sexual relationships once they sell tobacco.
Speaking on Friday in Mzuzu during one of the trainings, AHL Group HIV and Aids coordinator Leonard Chakwawa stressed the need to protect farmers by feeding them with proper information on HIV and Aids.
He said: “In the past, men used to come alone to the auction to check tobacco sales and then go to the banks to collect money.
“After collecting the money, some were recklessly spending it by, among other things, sleeping with other women. Some were contracting the virus and they were, in turn, infecting their families.”
Chakwawa said farmers are being discouraged from having multiple sex partners and those that already have the disease are being encouraged to take ARVs so that they live longer.
Mzimba Tisangepo Tobacco Club chairperson Kennedy Jere said the idea of accessing tobacco sales as couples has helped a number of farmers to be responsible.
“The problem was with us men. Since we are considered head of families, we were coming alone to get money. Once we collected the money, we would spend it on other women without considering our wives and children who toil with us in the farm,” said Jere.