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Malawi reduces new HIV infections by 66%

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Malawi has reduced the number of new HIV infections by 66 percent in eleven years, the Ministry of Health has said.

Speaking when she presided over the official opening of the 2021 joint annual review of the National Response to HIV/Aids organised by National Aids Commission (Nac), Health Minister Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda said Malawi has achieved the feat between 2010 and June 2021.

“In the year 2010, the number of new infections was at 56,000 per year.

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“However, in 2021, the number has decreased from 56,000 in 2010 to 19,000. We are all aware that the HIV and Aids epidemic has had very disastrous effects on the Malawian people. Cumulatively, since the onset of the epidemic in the 1980s, the country has lost approximately 1,400,000 people to Aids-related illnesses,” she said.

Kandodo Chiponda lauded efforts Malawi has been taking to tame the virus, saying such efforts were bearing fruit.

She said one of the signs of progress was the increased number of people that know their HIV sero-status.

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“Over the years, Malawi has made tremendous achievements in responding to HIV and Aids pandemic. By June 2021, a total of 955,435 people living with HIV knew their HIV positive status while 878,232 people were on life-prolonging Anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs, of which 825,538 had their viral load suppressed. This progress represents 97:92:94 with respect to the 95:95:95 treatment targets,” Kandodo Chiponda said.

Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/Aids Country Director Nuha Ceesay applauded the country for registering progress in the fight against HIV and Aids.

He said the remarkable progress was possible because of political will, leadership, and collective efforts to reach many vulnerable populations left behind.

“Our collective strives for ending Aids call for maximising investments by ensuring efficiency in service delivery, avoiding duplication, enhancing coordination and building resilient and sustainable health and community systems,” Ceesay said.

Malawi HIV and Aids Partnership Forum Chairperson Beston Chisamile said they would continue working with all stakeholders to reach the target goal of ending the epidemic by 2030.

“This commitment was made through the United Nations General Assembly’s June 2021 Political Declaration on HIV and Aids, whose strategies are outlined in the Global Aids Strategy 2021-2026 that was launched early this year. As such, we will continue with the good cause in fighting the disease,” Chisamile said.

This year’s meeting was held under the theme ‘Towards Ending Aids by 2030 through Sustainable Epidemic Control: A People-centred Approach’.

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