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Government rolls out new HIV campaign

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By Blessings Makuwira:

Health Minister Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda has called on Malawians to embrace the five-year T=T campaign, which aims at reducing HIV and Aids occurrences in the country by 2030.

The T=T campaign, which stands for Tizilombo tochepa (ta HIV) = Thanzi (labwino), is an initiative that encourages people living with HIV and Aids to adhere to medication as one way of fighting the virus.

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Sunday, the minister launched the campaign at M’manga Primary School Ground in Balaka District at the 2022 International Aids Candlelight Memorial.

“The Ministry of Health will continue to strengthen collaboration with civil society organisations networks of people living with HIV and other relevant organisations to raise awareness on the benefits of treatment adherence and viral load monitoring as well as the concept of Treatment as Prevention through this campaign.

“I would like to request all people living with HIV in our country, as well as local and faith leaders, parents, guardians and healthcare workers, to collaborate with my ministry and embrace this campaign as we roll out campaign activities,” she said.

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Kandodo Chiponda said the country has made significant progress in the fight against HIV and Aids.

“As you recall, in 2020, Malawi committed to achieving the UNaids 95:95:95 treatment targets by the year 2025. The targets provide a pathway by which a person is tested, linked to care and retained in HIV care to achieve viral load suppression.

“I am pleased to report that, by March 2022, a total of 860,412 HIV-positive people had been diagnosed with HIV, with 843,204 on anti-retroviral therapy (ART) and 817,908 had their viral load suppressed. The progress represents 88:98:97 performance in respect to the 95:95:95 treatment targets. We, as a country, have also made significant efforts to reduce the number of new HIV infections per year, with HIV incidence currently estimated at 0.21 for those 15 years and older,” she said.

Kandodo Chiponda said a sustained and effective response to HIV and Aids requires strong political leadership and dedication at all levels.

“Therefore, I want to reassure you that the country’s political leadership will continue to create an enabling environment for HIV programme implementation by formulating and enacting relevant HIV policies and guidelines,” she said.

Commissioner Lawrence Yobe of the National Aids Commission commended the government and stakeholders for taking the necessary steps towards ending HIV by 2030.

The 2022 International Aids Candlelight Memorial was commemorated under the theme ‘We Remember, We Take Action, We Live Beyond HIV’.

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