In an effort to eliminate HIV by 2030, Malawi is piloting two interventions—Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and HIV Recency Surveillance testing that will target the youth, sex workers and other high-risk groups.
Ministry of Health spokesperson Joshua Malango, who is currently attending an International Aids Society Conference (IAS) 2019 in Mexico, said Malawi has employed innovative messaging and preventive interventions such as condoms, HIV Recency Surveillance testing and PrEP.
He said Malawi’s HIV prevention policies have prioritised combination prevention and, currently, the interventions are being implemented through the public and private health sector.
Malango said Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), is the use of a daily pill to prevent HIV acquisition for those who have the highest risk while HIV Recency Surveillance testing was a new innovation to HIV-testing, which provides insight into the timeline of an individual’s HIV infection.
“PrEP, which is relatively new in sub-Saharan Africa, is being delivered among female sex workers and adolescent girls and young women through pilots in Blantyre and Lilongwe. Malawi will scale up the intervention up to the rest of the country by 2020,” he said.
During the conference, Malango said World Health Organisation (WHO) announced that Dolutegravir (DTG)-based ART regimens can be used by all, including women of child-bearing age and children from 20 kilogramme and above. Dolutegravir is an antiretroviral drug regimen.
Malawi already developed guidelines that have phased out the use of Nevirapine (one of the ARVs that the virus is resistant to) for HIV treatment in children.
The International Aids Society convened the 2019 international conference with the theme centered on the importance and impact of prioritising investment in evidence and human rights-based response to reach all people, including key and vulnerable populations.