NAPHAM embarks on viral load testing awareness campaign

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National Association of People Living with HIV and AIDS in Malawi (NAPHAM) has embarked on an awareness campaign to urge people to go for viral load testing. HIV Test Malawi

Speaking to journalists in Mzuzu, NAPHAM’s District Coordinator for Mzimba Saul Dion said that viral load testing checks the number of HIV copies in one’s blood. He said in Malawi, people depend on CD4 count machines that tests the immunity of a person to start receiving ARTs.

He, however, said that this system of depending on CD4 count is an outdated system and he encouraged people to use the viral load test rather than CD4 count machines.

“In Malawi when one has been found with HIV, he or she is tested his or her immunity using CD4 count machines that if the immunity is low then he or she can start receiving treatment but when it’s high, he or she waits for treatment. However, someone’s immunity can be very high but with a lot of HIV copies in the blood, this can make the virus to be resistant to the treatment as the immunity will be very low in a short period of time.

“But viral load tests the number of HIV copies in the blood so even when the immunity is high when the HIV copies are more than 1000 that person needs to start receiving ARTs,” said Dion.

Dion added that even for those people who are already on ARTs, it is important that they should be going for viral load testing every three months because viral load testing helps to check if the treatment is going on properly.

However, NAPHAM registered a worry that even though viral load testing has reached Malawi, people are not aware of it. Napham has therefore engaged in awareness to let people know about the test and its importance.

The awareness project that NAPHAM is doing in conjunction with Oxfam already started in November last year and will end in 2017. The organisation has therefore urged all HIV positive people to go for viral load testing in hospitals where viral load testing services are available.

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One Comment

  1. Mr Dion for NAMPHAM, let me concur with you that Routine viral load testing is the best way to monitor ART treatment if it is working or not. For CD4 count only tells one when to to start treatment. Its a right to know if treatment is working.