The Malawi Aids Counselling and Resource Organisation (Macro) will launch a community HIV testing initiative targeting highly at-risk populations in Mzimba.
According to Macro branch manager Patrick Nayupe, the key populations include vendors, sex workers and estate workers.
In an interview on Friday, the official said community testing project will focus on the mobile workers because they rarely find time to go to health facilities to access HIV testing and counselling (HTC).
“We needed to find a way to ensure that they access testing services, so we will be visiting them in their respective workplaces: in pubs, estates, plantations, marketplaces and other targeted hotspots. We want everyone tested,” Nayupe said.
Bringing HTC services closer to at-risk populations is part of the country’s struggle to achieve the global 90:90:90 targets by 2020.
The UNAids-backed goal challenges countries to ensure 90 percent of people living with HIV and Aids (PLHIV) know their status, 90 percent of those diagnosed with HIV are receiving antiretroviral treatment (ART) and 90 percent of those on ART to have their viral load suppressed.
Macro will run the pilot phase for two months, starting on Wednesday.
A major roll-out will depend on the outcome of the trial funded by Elizabeth Glazer Paediatric Aids Foundation.
The National Aids Commission estimates that nearly nine out of every 100 Malawians are living with HIV.
Mzimba South ART coordinator Blessings Kamanga said at least 30 percent of nearly 18 000 people registered for ART in Mzimba have quitted.
Kamanga blamed the high default rate on religious beliefs and migration to South Africa. n