‘Aids fight not yet over’
United Nations Programme on HIV and Aids (UNAids) and the National Aids Commission (Nac) have called on stakeholders in the fight against HIV and Aids to intensify efforts that will culminate in the country having no new case of infection.
Officials from the organisations said this Thursday at a review meeting of a five-year National Strategic Plan for HIV and Aids.
UNaids Country Director Nuha Ceesay said there is a need to pay attention to non-communicable diseases that are claiming lives of people who are living positively with HIV and Aids.
According to reports, 8,000 people living with HIV and Aids are dying every year.
“We have realised that a person with a suppressed viral load and on treatment may end up losing a life as a result of hypertension or diabetes and other diseases. We really need to walk together and create awareness on treatment and lifestyle changes,” he said.
Ceesay said his organisation is committed to working with the government in reducing cases of HIV and Aids.
Nac Director of HIV and Aids Programmes Chimwemwe Mablekisi said the review of the strategy has given them a new way of thinking about best interventions to take to register success in the fight against HIV and Aids.
“Moving forward, we will have to look into [the issue of] HIV response in emergency situations, in the current case Tropical Cyclone Freddy, which make our clients more vulnerable. We have also registered new infections in breastfeeding women and children, hence the need to closely work on the areas,” she said.
Care and Treatment Programmes Officer in the Department of HIV and Aids in the Ministry of Health, Billal Wilson, said the country has made strides in achieving the 95- 95-95 targets by 2025 but is only lagging behind on the first target, which calls for more people living with HIV to know their status.
Currently, only 94 percent of people living with HIV in Malawi know their status.
“We are hoping that, by the end of 2025, we will reach the 95-95-95 target.
“Although we are likely to achieve this, the fight against HIV is not over. We still have people that are presenting late to care, couples with new infections and related deaths,” he said.
Malawi was recently awarded for achieving more towards the 95-95- 95 targets in the midst of implementing the strategy.