National Aids Commission (NAC) acting chief executive officer Andrew Gonani says Malawi is on course to achieving United Nations (UN) targets on ending HIV and Aids by 2030 despite the prevailing impact of Covid-19 pandemic on the population.
In an interview in Salima yesterday on the sidelines of a media orientation on HIV and Aids trends in Malawi as well as the 2020-2025 National Strategic Plan for HIV and Aids, the acting executive director said the national strategic plan has overarching targets to combat the virus and ensure those who get HIV are immediately put on antiretroviral therapy (ART).
He said: “We are sure to meet the targets despite the Covid-19 pandemic as per our national strategic plan of 2020-2025 and the UN goal of ending Aids by 2030.”
Malawi has been registering significant progress in meeting the UN 90-90-90 targets to end Aids by 2030 despite facing challenges in addressing new infections.
The 90-90-90 targets stipulated that by 2020, 90 percent of all people living with HIV will know their status, 90 percent of all people diagnosed with HIV infection will receive sustained ART and 90 percent of all people receiving ART will have viral suppression.
Gonani said by 2030, Malawi will have defeated HIV, meaning fewer people will have the virus, there will be fewer deaths from Aids and the virus will be undetectable in people due to viral load suppression.
In terms of the progress in line with the national strategic plan and the UN targets, he said as of 2020, Malawi had beaten the UN targets by getting 92 percent of the population to know their HIV status, 95 percent of people who immediately start ART after getting the virus and 94 percent of people whose viral load is suppressed above UN targets.
“We would like to see that by 2025 we should reach 95 percent of all the three targets. As we reach 2030, we should reach 100 percent,” Gonani said.
Recently, President Lazarus Chakwera said the strides Malawi has made in fighting HIV and Aids should spur the nation towards achieving the goal of eliminating HIV as a public health threat by 2030.
He said: “I believe it is important for us to reinvigorate HIV prevention efforts and fast-track implementation of interventions to stop the spread.”
In 2020, the International Aids Society in collaboration with Amfar Institute for HIV Cure Research and Friends of the Global Fight Against Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria named Malawi among six locations in the world that had registered a dramatic reduction in HIV incidence and mortality through policy changes to end Aids by 2030.
In 2015, the global community met in New York and made a declaration which was endorsed by UN member States to fast-track ending Aids as a public health problem by 2030.