Pentecostal and Charismatic Network of Malawi has launched a faith-based project to encourage men to get tested for HIV.
Speaking during a musical event at Mpama Primary School in Chikwawa, the group’s project manager Manasseh Chaponda said the district has a high HIV prevalence rate but fewer men are getting tested for the virus.
“Should Christians go for HIV test? Much as we have faith, let us get tested. Let us take care of our physical and spiritual needs,” he said.
Chikwawa district anti-retroviral coordinator Marko Suzumire said research shows that Malawi has about 40 000 people living with HIV but do not know their status.
He commended the group for implementing the project at a time when some faith groups are spreading counterproductive messages about HIV, the virus that causes Aids.
“Some churches discourage people from accessing anti-retroviral drugs and HIV tests through faith propagation, preaching and faith healing,” said Suzumire.
In his remarks, group village head Matimati asked his subjects to go for HIV testing to know their status.
During the event, community-based HIV self-testing kit distribution agents distributed OraQuick HIV self-test kits to some of the patrons.
The project, funded by the United States of America’s President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief and the United States Aid for International Development through the Health Policy Plus, is running in traditional authorities Mabuka and Chikumbu in Mulanje and Makhuwira and Mulilima in Chikwawa.