Malawi Network of People Living with HIV and Aids (Manet+) has expressed concern over the increasing number of youths getting infected with HIV, saying this is a warning that needs concerted efforts to eradicate.
Manet+ executive director Lawrence Khonyongwa said this in Lilongwe yesterday when he addressed journalists ahead of the International Aids Candlelight Memorial scheduled for this Sunday at Nasawa Technical College ground in Zomba,
“There is an increase in new infections among young people. It is a concern we need to address as a country. This is the productive age and the people we say are the future leaders. If we are to eradicate HIV by 2030, we should work together to empower our youths to abstain and practise safe sex,” he said.
According to the Ministry of Health, the infection rate is high among the youth because of peer pressure and early marriages.
The ministry’s chief of health services Charles Mwansambo said the number of youths getting infected is worrisome; hence, government and development partners will intensify programmes for youths to abstain from sexual behaviour.
“As a country, we have achieved a lot in the fight. Out of 1 million infected people, we have put about 800 000 on treatment. In addition, stigma has gone down.
“All in all, as a country, we still need to do more to prevent the further spread. We need to work together to bring the figure down and achieve the 90-90-90 goal,” said Mwansambo.
The theme for this year’s memorial is Intensifying the Fight for Health and Rights.