The United States has commended the country’s efforts in the fight against the spread of HIV and AIDS.
Speaking on Thursday during commemoration of World Aids Day in Dedza, United States Ambassador to Malawi Virginia Palmer said Malawi and many other countries have made extraordinary progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
“By the end of September this year, over 650,000 Malawians were receiving life- saving HIV treatment, with 90% of patients supported by the U.S. Government. This means that nearly two- thirds of all people living with HIV in Malawi are receiving treatment, a significant achievement,” Palmer said.
“Among those receiving treatment, about 90% are achieving treatment success, suppressing the HIV virus to low levels, making it very difficult to transmit the virus to others. These achievements are remarkable and have resulted in hundreds of thousands of lives saved and HIV infections prevented in Malawi,” added Palmer.
She further said that Malawi’s public health approach to HIV treatment – involving community organizations and community health workers in care and treatment – truly is a model for the rest of the world.
“Malawi has led the region with innovative projects like option B-plus treatment for all HIV-positive pregnant women to protect their own health and keep their babies HIV-free.
“Malawi was the first country to formally integrate the UNAIDS 90-90-90 goals into your National Strategic Plan on HIV/AIDS and TB. And, earlier this year, Malawi was one of the first countries to implement the new “Test and Start” revised guidelines for HIV testing and treatment services. With Test and Start, your health officials now reach out to more people – all kinds of people – young people, older people, married people, homosexuals, unmarried people, and say – come, get tested,” Palmer said.
But Palmer warned that there is still much to be done, especially in empowering girls and young women to protect their health, stay HIV free, and pursue their dreams.
This year’s “World Aids Day” was commemorated under the theme “Hands Up for HIV Prevention.”