Malawi yesterday commemorated World Aids Day with a progress report indicating that the country is making headway and moving closer to further reducing new HIV and Aids infections as evidenced by the decline in the prevalence rate.
The progress is being made on the back of, among others, the improved HIV and Aids strategies which have seen the country’s response evolving from health sector-led to a multi-sectoral one.
In the past three years, Malawi government has increased its annual budget support to HIV and Aids response by almost five percent to 14 percent with focus on improving access to treatment, care and support.
In an interview yesterday, National Aids Commission (NAC) executive director Davie Kalomba said the number of new HIV infections annually has also decreased from around 42 000 in 2014 to about 33 000.
He said: “In terms of HIV prevalence, according to the 2015 estimates, we are now at nine percent. This means we have also reduced the prevalence rate by one percent.”
Kalomba also said latest information on national Aids spending assessment indicates that government has increased its contribution towards HIV and Aids response from nine percent to 14 percent. The difference comes from development partners.
Currently, there are about one million people living with HIV in the country with more than 650 000 receiving antiretroviral treatment (ART).
And speaking yesterday when she presided over the World Aids Day national commemoration event in Dedza, First Lady Gertrude Mutharika said Malawi was on course towards achieving the global HIV targets which seek to ensure that by the year 2030, 90 percent of all people living with HIV should know their status; 90 percent of all people diagnosed with HIV should receive sustained ART and Aids related deaths should be reduced by 90 percent.
However, the First Lady expressed sadness with some cultural practices which she said were fuelling the spread of HIV. n