Despite several initiatives to reduce the spread of HIV in Mulanje, authorities in the district say it remains second with the highest prevalence rate of the scourge in the country.
Addressing people during the district’s World Aids Day commemorations on Tueday, District Health Officer, Dr. Khuliena Kabwere said the prevalence rate for the district remains at 17.1 percent which exceeds that of the whole country.
He said despite the situation, the district health office is doing its best to curb the spread of the virus by among other things increasing the number of health facilities offering HTC and ART services.
“Although the district is leading as the second district with the highest prevalence rate there is still hope that we can win this battle against the spread of the virus in the district as we have several activities deliberately put in place for that purpose which among other things include making sure we have many facilities to offer HTC and ART services as currently we only have 24 in the district and also promoting the 90:90:90 HIV strategy,” Kabwere explained.
Senior Chief Chikumbu who said that there is a greater need for awareness especially among young girls and women between the ages of 13 to 24 saying it is at this stage that they mostly start involving themselves in sexual activities that put them at risk of contracting the virus.
She urged her fellow local leaders to promote formulation of by-laws that will help in the reduction of the virus.
“The fight against this pandemic needs collaborated efforts and it is my humble plea to my fellow local leaders to use our powers to formulate deliberate by-laws to curb the spread and also protect our young girls from being victimized in sexually related affairs where in the end they contract HIV,” chief Chikumbu said.
And as a way of encouraging people to get tested, Liviness Elaton shared her story on how she is living positively with the virus after being tested in 2008.
She urged people not to shun getting tested saying the country cannot make strides in the fight against HIV if people do not patronize HTC services.
Some of the activities during the commemorations included provision of HTC services.
Plan International, Global Aids Interfaith Alliance (GAIA) were among the organizations that funded the commemorations in the district this year.
Report- Malawi News Agency