330, 000 people not yet on HIV treatment
It has been revealed that at least 330, 000 people from the over one million people known to be living with HIV and Aids in the country have not yet started receiving treatment.
According to latest data from Malawi’s Population-based HIV Impact Assessment, Malawi is one of five the high-burden countries in Africa.
The revelation was made yesterday during national commemorations of World Aids Day held at the Blantyre Youth Centre.
Health and Population Minister, Atupele Muluzi, who graced the event however said Malawi is making strides to have more people access the life prolonging Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART), which has moved from less than 30,000 in 2005 to 725, 000 todate.
“From these figures, it means that three quarters of all people living with HIV in Malawi are receiving treatment. But we have more work to do. We know there are about 330,000 people in Malawi who are living with HIV who still need life-saving treatment. We know the main reason that they are not getting treatment is that they are unaware of their HIV positive status. We also know there are millions of young people at risk of contracting the disease,” he said.
United states (U.S.) Ambassador to Malawi Virginia Palmer, whose government supports 90 percent of those people on ART treatment in the country, said the commemoration was an opportunity to honour those who have lost their lives to AIDS.
Palmer reaffirmed her government’s commitment to help those who are living with HIV/AIDS and those at risk of getting the disease.
She however said to get to epidemic control in Malawi, there is need to chart a bold course for accelerated implementation – together with support from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)’s support.
“We need to redefine business as usual. We need to use efficient, effective and safe HIV testing modalities recommended by the World Health Organization, including Voluntary Assisted Partner Notification. This means working with people who are HIV-positive to contact their partners and offer them testing, as they have a high likelihood of also being HIV-positive.,” she said.
As part of the commemorations the U.S government has also handed over a facility at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre to be used in the fight against HIV and AIDS in Malawi.
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