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“Malawi continues to make steady progress in the fight against HIV and AIDS” says NAC

The National AIDS Commission (NAC) says Malawi is continuing to make steady progress in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

NAC Executive Director, Mr. Davie Kalomba, made the remarks on Thursday, June 23, when he officially opened the 2016 National Conference of People Living with HIV at Riverside Hotel in Lilongwe.

“According to the 2015 HIV and AIDS estimates, we have reduced the number of new HIV infections from 42,000 in 2014 to 33, 000 per year, we have further reduced the rate of annual AIDS related deaths from 34,000 in 2014 to 27,000 deaths per year in 2015,” Mr. Kalomba said.

He added: “We have also managed to initiate and retain alive on treatment over 600,000 clients as at December 2015.

“The home-grown approach for preventing mother to child transmission of HIV and treatment, whereby all HIV positive pregnant women are initiated on treatment regardless of their clinical and immunological status, popularly known as Option B+, continues to register impressive results, with 87 percent of known HIV-positive pregnant women commencing life-prolonging ART.

“The scale-up and expansion of the program has contributed to the rapid decline in infant HIV infections and maternal deaths,” he said.

Mr. Kalomba then commended individuals living with HIV for coming out in the open to declare their sero-status, saying it is such bold decisions that have helped to reduce cases of stigma and discrimination and advocated for quality treatment, care and support for fellow citizens in need of HIV-related services.

“Thousands of people would not be alive today if it were not for you, selfless individuals, who came out in the open, amidst all challenges, to wage this war against the epidemic. I therefore wish to salute you all for taking this bold step for the sake of others,” the NAC boss said.

In his remarks, representative of UNAIDS in Malawi, Isaac Ahemesah, commended Malawi for being recognised globally as a star performer in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

“Globally, Malawi is recognised as a pace-setter in fighting the epidemic. Everywhere, people are talking about how Malawi is responding to HIV and AIDS.

“However, we should not relent but build on the strides we have collectively made to provide high quality services to clients,” he said.

The conference was organized by Malawi Network of People Living with HIV (MANET+) and it brought together about two hundred participants from networks and organizations of people living with HIV including National Association of People Living with HIV in Malawi (NAPHAM), Coalition of Women Living with HIV (COWLHA), Teachers Living Positively with HIV (T’LIPO), and National Association of Young People Living with HIV, among others.

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