Malawi Launches HIV Testing Week

Malawi today November 10, launched yet again HIV Counselling and Testing (HTC) week in an effort to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS.
For the last fours years now, the HIV Prevalence rate for Malawi has stagnated at 15 percent.
Launching the event in Malawi’s Central Region, Health Minister Khumbo Kachali said this year’s HTC week theme is “Tested and Counselled Together for HIV”.
“This year’s initiative is targeting married couples and the youths who are about to engage in married life,” he said.
Malawi is one of the countries in the sub-Saharan region that has been badly ravaged by the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
Mzuzu city assembly says it is looking forward to a successful HCT week that has been launched today.
District Aids Coordinator Mr. Felix Namakhuwa said unlike in the two previous exercises this year’s event looks more organized as all things are set to kick start the exercise.
While the launch was some 500 kilometres away Malawi’s northern city of Mzuzu also started its activities by half past 9 in the morning.
Like all the districts and cities of Malawi, Mzuzu has established sites where HIV Testing and Counselling is on going.
The city Aids Coordinator Felix Namakhuwa said about 60 sites have been set up across the city which is Malawi’s smallest and the exercise is targeting about 4,500 clients from within the city.
“Apart from fixed sites and outreach stations, the assembly has also put in place 2 mobile vans that will target the business community in most market centres,” he explained.
During last years HTC week, Mzuzu city registered 4,999 clients almost double the figure the city registered in 2006 when the exercise had just been introduced in the country.
Unlike last year when the exercise was marred with late supplies of testing materials and inadequate counsellors, Namakhuwa said the city has received all the necessary materials in time and was optimistic that the exercise will run smoothly.
This is third year running that Malawi is conducting a testing week. Last year 71 percent of the people that tested learned their HIV status for the first time and a total of 186,631 people were testing during the awareness week — a 92 percent increase from 2007 when the initiative began.