The Malawi Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (Manet+) says most HIV positive people on Antiretroviral Therapy are defaulting treatment due to food shortage.
The organisation has since pleaded with well-wishers to assist those on treatment do not default taking drugs.
Manet+ executive director, Safari Mbewe, sounded the alarm in an interview on Tuesday estimating that almost half of the country’s HIV infected people are facing acute food shortage.
The 2015 national HIV and AIDS estimates released by the National Aids Commission (NAC) indicates that Malawi has about 980,000 HIV positive adults and children.
“The situation is dire. We are working with our partners to come up with a proper figure but according to our assessments an estimated half of the country’s HIV positive population is having this challenge. The health status of most of the affected people is deteriorating,” said Mbewe.
He said that Antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) are strong medicine and patients are advised to eat adequately before taking them.
Mbewe has since called on government to put proper mechanisms in place to ensure that people living with HIV/AIDS are not left out as beneficiaries in the ongoing food distribution exercise.
He said poor nutrition increases the speed of HIV transmission into full-blown AIDS.
Vice-President Saulos Chilima on July 28 launched the 2016/17 National Food Insecurity Response to cater for 6.5 million people in need of emergency assistance.
The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) in collaboration with the World Food programme (WFP) and International Non-Governmental Organisations (Ingos) consortium is providing food assistance to the affected population in a phase approach.
Commenting on the matter Dodma Communications officer Jeremiah Mphande said mechanisms have been put in place to ensure that the entire vulnerable population is reached out.
Said Mphande: “Among the targeted individuals are some selection criteria that have been put in place to carter for all the affected including those affected with HIV. For instance if a family meets either two of the following factors: Chronically ill (HIV), people with disabilities, Women headed families and other social economic factors like not having a stable income; then such type of people are on the targeted list.”