Malawi Government has commended the National Aids Commission (NAC) for the strides it has made towards eliminating new HIV and Aids infections in the country.
Speaking at the National Dissemination Meeting of the T=T Campaign Strategy in Lilongwe on Wednesday, Director of the HIV and Viral Hepatitis Department at the Ministry of Health, Dr Rose Nyirenda, observed that Malawi has made significant progress towards achieving the 95:95:95 targets of the World Health Organization (WHO).
Nyirenda assured the Commission of the ministry’s commitment to providing support to ensure Malawi completely eliminates new infections.
In his remarks, NAC Acting Executive Director, Dr. Andrew Gonani, disclosed that Malawi has recorded remarkable progress in the fight against HIV and AIDS since reporting the first case in 1985.
Gonani said new HIV infections have reduced from around 56,500 in 2010 to around 15,000 at the end of 2022. The country has also managed to significantly reduce the number of AIDS-related deaths from a whopping 36,000 in 2010 to around 11,100.
“The country is further determined to meet the HIV prevention goals required to end HIV and AIDS as a public health threat by 2030, which include implementing a comprehensive combination prevention approach for primary as well as secondary HIV prevention. This includes the traditional methods such as condom use and contemporary that include an Anti-retroviral drug approach to prevention such as use of Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), among others,” he said.
Gonani further stated that Malawi country has confirmed the HIV positive status of 1, 012, 135 people and placed 922,688 of those on the Anti-Retroviral drugs.
He said this aligns with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) ambitious 95:95:95 treatment targets to be attained by 2025.
“Malawi is on course to achieving these targets as estimates for 2022 projected that the country would register a 93:97:93 performance against the targets. In line with the goal of reducing new HIV infections that will ultimately result in ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030, the Government of Malawi through the Ministry of Health and National AIDS Commission continues to embrace new interventions in its National HIV and AIDS Response. Among the new interventions is the use of Treatment as Prevention (TasP) for HIV as well as strengthening of collaboration among civil society organisations and networks of people living with HIV to raise awareness on the benefits of treatment adherence and viral load monitoring as well as the concept of TasP,” he said.
“The TasP initiative is what gives life to the Tizirombo Tochepa = Thanzi (T=T) campaign. This is the localised version of the global Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U) campaign which was born out of research findings that when one achieves viral load suppression, the risk of transmitting HIV to their partners is significantly reduced. At the same time, one’s health is tremendously improved. As a country, we needed to translate the concept into the local context for easy understanding and quick adoption by stakeholders in the National HIV and AIDS Response,” added Gonani.