National Association of People Living with HIV and Aids in Malawi (Napham) has asked government to equip health facilities with routine viral load test services in Nkhata Bay to prevent unnecessary Aids-related deaths.
Napham has said the inability by health facilities such as Luwazi, Kapalapata and Usisya, which are located in hard-to-reach areas, to provide the services is threatening the fight against the HIV and Aids pandemic.
Napham Nkhata Bay district coordinator Frederic Chawawa said last Tuesday the absence of routine viral load tests renders people living with HIV vulnerable to disease attacks as they do not know the rate at which the virus is multiplying in their bodies.
As a result, Chawawa said, people living with the virus die because they do not know their viral load at specific intervals.
He made the observation when the association briefed journalists on access to routine viral load testing by those living with the HIV virus in the district.
“We have been conducting awareness and advocacy meetings with People Living with HIV on access to routine viral load. But it is sad to note that many people do not have access to these services in all health facilities in the district, including the district hospital,” said Chawawa.
Viral load testing is only done at Mzuzu Central Hospital, which is a challenge since not all people have access to the referral hospital. n