New HIV infections rate worries government

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Government has expressed worry over the new HIV infections that the country is registering.

Principal Secretary for Nutrition, HIV and Aids in the Office of President and Cabinet (OPC), Edith Mkawa, said this on Friday during the World Aids Day commemoration activities for the department in Lilongwe.

“It is disheartening that Malawi continues to register new HIV cases which are estimated at around 1,000 new infections every week. This is unacceptable and an insupportable burden in our fight against the pandemic,” she said.

Mkawa said the new infections are an indication that there are grey areas that need to be addressed if the country is to achieve zero infections.

“As a nation, we should say no to concurrent multiple sexual partnerships, bad cultural practices that frustrate efforts to prevent HIV transmission and ignorance of one’s sero-status before pregnancy and marriage,” Mkawa advised.

National Aids Commission (Nac) Director of Policy and Programmes Mirriam Mangochi said stigma is one of the major contributing factors to the new infections.

“Stigma in our communities, workplace and many places stand on the way of efforts meant to fight against HIV and Aids. It prevents people from disclosing their status, from freely accessing HIV and Aids services in the course leading to more new infections,” Mangochi said.

World Aids Day falls on December 1 every year. It was set aside by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 1988 to allow governments, institutions and all stakeholders to reflect and review actions taken in the fight against the pandemic.

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