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Stakeholders urged to promote HIV prevention strategies

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Minister of Health and Population, Atupele Muluzi, has asked stakeholders to scale up HIV prevention interventions to reduce cases of new infections among young people in the country.

Muluzi said, despite the country making strides in reducing cases of HIV infections, new infections remain high among people aged between 15 and 24 years.

“We have been on full circle with regards to HIV and Aids interventions. We have seen the prevalence rate decreasing but we have also seen a spike in new infections particularly [among those] between the ages of 15 and 24 and this has led us to rethink how we should address this issue, with regards to prevention interventions,” Muluzi said.

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Muluzi made the remarks on Friday during a Valentine’s dinner that Malawi Network of Aids Services Organisations (Manaso) organised under the theme ‘Spread Love Not HIV’.

Muluzi said 2018 spectrum estimates show that the country’s prevalence rate stands at 9.7 percent while over 700,000 people are on antiretroviral treatment.

Statistics also show that there are 42,000 new HIV infections.

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Among other things, Muluzi cited low condom use among men as a contributing factor.

Manaso Board Chairperson, Maziko Matemba, said the rise in cases of HIV infections is due to lack of vibrant prevention interventions; hence, the need for stakeholders to explore more prevention strategies.

“For a long time, we have used treatment as prevention. It is working but why are we having new infections? Maybe we didn’t do much in terms of prevention,” Matemba said.

Matemba said Manaso is committed to working with communities and civil society organisations to make more strides in prevention of the virus.

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