June 30, 2009
Malawi Bolsters Treatment Access
Malawi already gives a quarter million of its HIV-positive citizens free antiretrovirals (ARVs), but the sub-Saharan African country plans to produce the meds locally and export extra drugs to neighboring countries, Agence France-Presse reports.
According to the article, official figures show that about 14 percent of the 13 million people in Malawi are currently living with the virus. The free ARV program was launched five years ago with 5,000 beneficiaries.
While Desmond Johns, UNAIDS resident coordinator, recognized President Bingu wa Mutharika’s effort to address the country’s increased infection rate, he noted that with 90,000 new infections each year, AIDS is “arguably the single consistent threat in overall development for Malawi.” He warned that more needs to be done in terms of prevention.
“Malawi has 300 new cases every day, largely among young people and females,” Johns said. His group aims to reach a point where 88 percent of Malawians are free of HIV—and then to assist and support them to remain negative.
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